In search of a brand new image for SkillsFuture

The national drive to coax workers to upgrade their skills is getting an image makeover.

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) is looking to hire a branding expert to create a new logo for the SkillsFuture drive.

Besides the new logo, the expert is also required to draw up a guidebook on how the logo is to be used to help raise public awareness. "The development of a logo and brand guide is for the marketing and promotional needs of SkillsFuture," said a WDA spokesman, on behalf of the SkillsFuture working group.

SkillsFuture is the national initiative to train workers to ensure Singapore workers have the skills wanted by employers. It is spearheaded by a national tripartite council of business leaders, government officials and unionists, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

There are several independent programmes under SkillsFuture. A key one is the SkillsFuture Credit scheme, under which Singaporeans aged 25 and older will receive $500 to enrol in courses to upgrade their skills from next year. Other programmes include subsidies for workers and employers, when working adults switch careers.

After the national SkillsFuture council was launched about a year ago, various government bodies continued to run their own programmes under their own banners.

The WDA wants to change this by introducing a new logo. The statutory board oversees workers' training and coordinates the SkillsFuture drive.

In a letter - seen by The Straits Times - to interested brand consultants this week, WDA said a new logo and comprehensive brand system will "enable the public to identify with SkillsFuture and have a better recall and greater mindshare for its key thrusts and messages".

Those interested were asked to submit their ideas and costs to WDA by the end of this month.

Work on the makeover is expected to start next month and the logo is expected to be ready by November, WDA said in the letter.

On the expected cost, WDA said: "The cost will be based on actual bids received. We will review them to ensure the successful bid offers value-for-money while best meeting the needs of the project."

Experts and industry watchers said they support the branding initiative. "Branding goes beyond merely just a logo or slogan," said Ms Jessie Ho, managing director of Ninemer Public Relations.

"Given that the training initiatives will be managed by different organisations, a strong brand will help to tie everything together," she added.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Zainudin Nordin, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, said selling the idea of continual skills upgrading has to be a core message in the branding drive.

"The branding and messaging also have to persuade workers that they can get better jobs and better pay when they upgrade their skills because this is what workers are most concerned about," he added.

Human resource consultant Martin Gabriel from HRMatters21 said the move will create awareness of various SkillsFuture programmes among workers.

"Beyond branding, the more important thing is to get the programmes right. Having effective programmes is the best branding for the programmes," said Mr Gabriel.

This article was first published on August 14, 2015.
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