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NTUC continues its efforts to support the growing pool of PMEs in Singapore

PMEs comprise nearly a quarter of workers who benefit from NTUC’s Company Training Committee.

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By Shukry Rashid 12 Apr 2024
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NTUC said it will continue its efforts to support PMEs in Singapore.


As of March 2024, more than 3,000 workers from 150 companies with approved Company Training Committee (CTC) Grants will benefit from an average wage increase of 5 per cent, on top of their annual increment or from career development plans.


Of the 3,000 workers, nearly a quarter of them are PMEs from 61 companies.


The CTC Grant funds projects to raise productivity, redesign jobs and upskill workers. It is administered by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).


Visit to ST Engineering


NTUC gave the update on the Company Training Committees (CTCs) outcomes on 12 April 2024 at a visit to ST Engineering. NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng was at the visit.


ST Engineering is one company that has leveraged the CTC to uplift employees’ wages or careers.


The company established a CTC with the ST Engineering Staff Union (STESU) in July 2021, and is one of the first companies to be awarded the CTC Grant.


The company’s management worked with STESU and NTUC Industry Training and Transformation to address business needs and challenges. Together, they identified training gaps and formulate targeted solutions for the training and upskilling of employees.


The company has 12 CTC projects across its Land Systems, Commercial Aerospace, Defence Aerospace, and Marine business entities, benefiting over 150 employees.


Four of the CTCs are led by ST Engineering Land Systems. These CTCs impacted 77 employees, of which 31 are PMEs.


Mr Ng said that with more PMEs in the workforce today, NTUC stands ready to represent their interests and will prioritise their wages, welfare and work prospects.


He added: “We are committed to safeguarding jobs by equipping workers with the skills needed to adapt and thrive in the face of evolving trends and technological advancements reshaping the workplace.”


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Productivity improvements


One of the CTC projects at ST Engineering Land Systems is the robotic spray painting solution.


The robotic painting solution reduces dependency on human labour and effectively mimics hand spray painting with improved quality and repeatability.


The automation solution, specially built to carry out spray painting on large structures and vehicle platforms, also helps bring higher paint consistency and quality.


Senior principal engineer Leong Heng Weng said his team’s productivity has improved, with painting activities done more quickly by at least 50 per cent.


To get acquainted with the spray painting solution, Mr Leong and his team underwent training courses on programming and maintenance.


“The training has equipped me well for the upcoming tasks, things that I was not exposed to previously such as programming of robots,” said Mr Leong.


The solution also enhanced workplace safety by eliminating employee exposure to hazardous fumes and reducing the risk of accidents associated with manual painting.


Mr Leong, who has been with the company for 15 years, said: “The operation of the robot is outside [of the painting area]. So there is this added health benefit to the team.”


Benefits of Company Training Committee


STESU General Secretary Sazali Zainal said the CTC with ST Engineering helped workers upgrade and increase their wages.


Mr Sazali said: “After the implementation of the CTC projects, workers realised that they gained a lot of knowledge, a higher salary, and a reduced workload.”


Vice President and Head of Operations for Management and Control, ST Engineering Land Systems, Andrew De Silva said that the CTCs also help with its maturing workforce. 


He said: “The CTC projects help mature workers work longer because it’s less physically demanding for them.”


The CTCs also helped the company attract talent.


Mr De Silva said: “For the younger workers, it’s about attracting them into an industry that’s traditionally very physically demanding.


“Going forward, that’s going to be our main focus that we will be able to sustain our business and keep our production goals.”


First announced in February 2019, the CTC aims to help companies achieve higher productivity and enable workers to upskill and reskill in tandem with business transformations.


Mr De Silva said he wished the CTC had started earlier.


“If they [NTUC] had start [CTCs] earlier, we would have gotten a lot more out of it because we had almost 30 projects in the last probably five to 10 years. And we have only managed to get four of these [projects] since the CTC started. So I think it has served us very well,” he explained.


NTUC has formed over 2,000 CTCs and is on track to set up 2,500 CTCs by 2025.