Training pays off for firms and staff, WDA survey shows

AFTER attending three national training modules, First Gourmet director Joseph Lee decided to make some changes at work.

By improving packaging, buying a blast chiller to cool down food quickly and even rearranging the location of the cutlery at his restaurants, he was able to reduce working hours for staff and grow profits.

The restaurant group specialising in Indian food has added six outlets to its fold since his training in 2012. "The training helped me to identify problems and do away with unnecessary work processes that were not adding value to customers," Mr Lee said.

More companies like his reported improvements in sales and profitability, quality and productivity last year, in a survey of training outcomes released yesterday by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA). For instance, 56 per cent said sales and profitability improved. This proportion of respondents is up by 8 percentage points from the year before. The survey looked at training outcomes of some 1,480 companies and 8,270 participants who went for Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training between April 2012 and March last year.

Although more companies reported better business performance last year, the proportion who felt WSQ training was useful for employees dipped to 83 per cent, down from 85 per cent in 2012. The WDA said that various factors could have influenced this. "The work performance of a trainee may not have improved after undergoing training due to other reasons such as individual attitude and aptitude, or how they have been managed by their supervisors," said spokesman Kenneth Wong.

Meanwhile, more employees themselves found the training useful, with 95 per cent reporting better work performance last year, up from 92 per cent in 2012 and 91 per cent the year before. A greater proportion said they received a pay raise - 19 per cent did so last year, compared with 15 per cent the year before. But slightly fewer felt greater motivation: 71 per cent, down from 77 per cent before.

In a separate WDA survey, more than half of 7,480 firms surveyed have now adopted the training framework, while seven in 10 are aware of it. For those with more than 200 employees, the adoption rate last year was 86 per cent, while the rate for those with 200 or fewer was 52 per cent. In 2012, the take-up rates were 82 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.

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