SMEs to get funding support in upskilling of workers

“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should send their workforce for upskilling, otherwise you can buy the technology, but your workforce may not be able to help you reap the full benefits,” said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon during a visit to Racer Technology’s headquarters at Changi South Street.

“More initiatives to encourage SMEs to send workers for training will be revealed at the ministry’s Committee of Supply debate next month and there may also be some degree of funding support,” he added.

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore. Photo courtesy: MTI
Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry of Singapore. Photo courtesy: MTI

The Minister encouraged more Singapore firms to tap on existing platforms to send workers for training, such as the collaboration between Racer Technology and Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star).

In 2017, Singapore’s medtech manufacturing firm Racer Technology sent 15 of its staff for the Model Factory@A*Star Staff Training module where they learned how to use the relevant software and received on-the-job training.

The upskilling of the workers helped the SME to achieve success in its adoption of advanced manufacturing operations.

A*Star started conducting Workforce Skills Qualification courses from 2008. Since then, over 4,000 professionals, managers, executives and technicians from 1,500 companies have attended them. 

In October 2017, A*Star's Model Factory initiative was launched which is designed to provide technological solutions to cut cost and raise productivity. It has worked on 137 industry projects till date.

Racer has adopted four Model Factory technologies, including a digital operations management system that provides a real-time overview of production, allowing workers to respond promptly to urgent orders.

Technology solutions adopted helped Racer to spot operational issues in real time like last-minute raw materials shortage and delays in JIT (Just in Time) parts arriving.

In 2018, Racer Technology recorded year-on-year revenue growth of 11 per cent compared to the previous year.  

The local firm, which employs about 1,800 staff and has eight factories across Asia, is aiming to double its revenue to SGD80 million in the next four to five years.