By Kami Navarro
Year after year, Singapore’s students and universities consistently top international rankings, reflecting the nation’s dedication to educating its citizens. But learning doesn’t just take place at universities or polytechnics. Even after graduates enter the workforce, continuous reskilling and upskilling is needed to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving job market, a need even more keenly felt in a post-coronavirus world.
With over 20,000 workers spread across 1,000 organisations—98 percent of which are SMEs—the Training and Adult Education (TAE) industry plays a key role in enhancing the capabilities of the workforce in Singapore. To help pivot the entire sector to the digital space, particularly in light of COVID-19, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), along with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL), launched a new initiative in August known as the TAE Industry Digital Plan (TAE IDP).
By laying out a tailored guide for digital transformation, the IDP will help TAE organisations operate even during a pandemic and tap into a market hungry for online courses.
The IDP provides SMEs with a three-stage roadmap of the various solution categories that businesses can adopt at each stage of their growth.
The first stage, which focuses on optimising operations, recommends resource optimisation tools like a digital attendance system. Meanwhile, the second stage encourages the use of digital learning marketplaces and rapid content creation tools to support SMEs as they scale in the digital economy. Finally, the third stage, which involves advanced data analytics, includes an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven personal learning advisor for learners.
The IDP also identifies the digital skills that TAE workers are encouraged to develop, ranging from blended learning approaches to workplace learning design. Workers can plan their digitalisation journey by selecting from either tech basics or tech advanced courses, depending on their job roles. In this feature, discover how enterprises like SHATEC, Lithan Academy and ROHEI Learning & Consulting followed the TAE IDP’s roadmap for digital success.
A new approach to administration
As the region’s first dedicated hotel school, SHATEC Institutes Pte Ltd (SHATEC) has trained generations of leading hospitality professionals. In 2012, SHATEC was officially appointed as a Continuous Education Training Centre (CETC), offering a full suite of short courses and masterclasses with course fees highly subsidised for Singaporeans and Singapore PRs by SkillsFuture Singapore.
Up until recently, however, many of the processes involved in administering the CET courses were still manual. Staff members would send individual emails to students for course confirmation and painstakingly input details on Excel spreadsheets during enrolment. Inevitably, as demand for the CET courses grew, so did the administrative workload.
Recognising the urgent need to increase efficiency, SHATEC started implementing a training management system to digitalise routine processes. Once the system is in place, staff will be able to easily manage course details through a unified portal. “With the new system, the end-to-end processing time is likely to be reduced from two days to just over four hours,” remarked Ms Calicia Jasmine Lim, SHATEC’s Assistant Director for CET. “Instead of spending time on manual paperwork, we can now shift our attention to building relationships with our learners.”
SHATEC will be progressively digitalizing more aspects of their operations and processes such as Finance services and HR functions. Stay tuned for SHATEC’s digitalisation journey!
Disrupting data analysis
Most people would know the term Software as a Service (SaaS), but have you ever heard of Competency Learning as a Service? Known as CLaaS® for short, the platform is Lithan Academy’s flagship product, allowing the Singapore-based CET centre to deliver customised courses on computational thinking and digital marketing over the cloud, on-demand.
As Lithan set its sights on expanding internationally, they needed to find a way to gain deeper insights on both their existing and potential customers. Until recently, however, their marketing reports were still consolidated manually. Not only did this often result in errors, but the reports failed to provide useful real-time insights for the management.
To overcome this problem, Lithan turned to data analytics and AI. Now, their reports are generated automatically, eliminating the need for manual data entry and validation. “We have actually cut down process time from two weeks to 48 hours,” shared Mr Benjamin Chai, a Senior Digital Marketing Executive at Lithan. The platform’s real-time analytics features also give the staff actionable insights for the sales and marketing teams, markedly improving performance.
Driving up digital engagement
As the adage goes, change is the only constant in life. With COVID-19 disrupting the way we work, live and play, many of us have had to adapt to significant changes in our daily routines. Still, adapting to change is easier said than done. Enter ROHEI Learning & Consulting, a company that helps organisations navigate the people aspect of their change journeys, developing trusted and relationally competent leaders along the way.
ROHEI achieves this through close cooperation with clients, resulting in the design of unique, immersive learning experiences that engage both the heart and mind. However, with the onset of COVID-19, ROHEI’s physical sessions were disrupted, driving the company to quickly redesign their face-to-face workshops into remote learning formats. They did this by tapping upon commercially available digital tools to rapidly create content to digitally engage learners. So far, their online programmes have been warmly received by ROHEI’s clients.
“It makes learning more sustainable,” explained Mr Eric Tan, a Senior Consultant in Training, Curriculum Design & Coaching at ROHEI. With the rapid content creation tool, ROHEI has been able to empower their learners to continue their personal development, in spite of the pandemic. Given their success in going digital, the team is now hoping to explore other available digital tools to quickly create content and deliver a quality educational experience. “It actually does form a wonderful addition to our experiential learning,” said Ms Praise Mok, ROHEI’s Deputy Chief Executive.
Through the digitalisation experience of these three training providers, it is evident that even in the age of safe distancing, digital solutions can help forge lasting connections between educators and learners.
Whether it be through SHATEC’s Training Management System, Lithan Academy’s data analytics tool or ROHEI Learning & Consulting’s rapid content creation solution, there are many available opportunities for SMEs in the TAE sector should you choose to go digital.