According to the Talent Shortage survey conducted by ManpowerGroup in 2018, 56% of Singapore employers reported that they were unable to fill job vacancies. One of the reasons cited for the difficulty in filling jobs was that applicants had a lack of experience. As job roles continue to evolve due to the rapid evolution of technology, there is a shift in the skills demanded in the modern workplace. The lack of experience, coupled with the lack of necessary skills, have thus contributed to the manpower crunch that many companies faced.
As such, in an effort to bridge the skills gap for both employers and jobseekers, NTUC’ Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) launched the Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs), which are aimed at mid-career individuals who undergo skills conversion to help them better transition into new occupations and/or sectors that have good prospects.
Flex-Solver Pte Ltd is one of the companies that have partnered with e2i on this programme, nurturing talents who are keen to take on new roles but do not have the necessary experience or skills to do so, whilst meeting their manpower needs. Three of their employees who have been hired under this programme share their experiences with us (note: the identities of these employees will be kept anonymous to maintain confidentiality).
Employee A has been working as a Project Manager in Flex-Solver for the past 1.5 years. Prior to this, the 34-year-old was working as the Team Lead in a localisation/translation company. Her rationale for making the switch to a different sector was that the fast-growing IT industry offers many opportunities for professional success. Additionally, she was encouraged by her friends and family to take up this opportunity. When asked about her notable takeaways from the training, she mentioned the Proactive Monitoring for PowerCenter (PMPC) training held by the Director and other internal trainings that equipped her with skills relevant in the current industry (e.g., understanding how Agile/Scrum works and carrying out requirement gatherings required for her project). This improved her project management capability and allowed her to perform her day-to-day tasks with confidence. Aside from technical skills, Employee A also gained soft skills such as learning how to communicate with clients in an efficient way. She felt supported by her R&D HOD who has patiently guided her through her first project, as well as her colleagues who provided assistance whenever needed.
With the help of CCPs, Employee B also made a successful career switch from working in the mechanical and web developing/telecommunication industry to becoming a Junior Software Developer in Flex-Solver, despite coming from a non-programming background. He recounted that one of his most memorable experiences he had during the course of his training was the first major project he oversaw, which ultimately came to fruition after constant hard work and the guidance from his mentor. The satisfaction expressed by the clients gave him a sense of fulfilment, which continues to motivate him in his work.
Previously an Audit and Assurance Associate in the finance industry, Employee C took a leap of faith to work as a project coordinator in Flex-Solver, a move that was supported by her friends and family. She made the switch as she was on the lookout for something that aligned with her interests and offered better job prospects. Under the CCP, she underwent the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) training where she was able to hone her project management skills and gain valuable experiences through interacting with clients. She also had the opportunity to connect with the project managers in the company, who provided unwavering support in helping her adapt to the challenges of the job.
NTUC’s e2i is always looking to connect with different employers to address the manpower crunch in the industries. The collaboration between e2i and Flex-Solver has begun since the latter was first founded, and the company continues to leverage on various e2i programmes to groom suitable talents to excel in their roles. Valerie Chay, the assistant HR manager at Flex-Solver, explained that the development of the training plans was based on the discussions conducted with the department heads, where information was gathered about the responsibilities and challenges of each role. Besides that, each training plan is personalised to different individuals in order to provide the necessary resources to integrate the employee successfully.
When asked about her thoughts about the CCP, she said that “CCP has greatly benefited Flex-Solver in providing us the platform and confidence to hire people from different industries as we believe that each individual should be provided the opportunity to try the same role in a different sector.”
Companies or individuals interested to take part in CCPs can contact e2i at https://e2i.com.sg/contact-us/enquiries/general-enquiries or visit https://e2i.com.sg/businesses/training/career-conversion-programme/ for more information.