Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are often at the tail end of any talent crunch. Their lean operating models and cash-sensitive approach put them at a disadvantage in getting the right talents.
The talent gap is also widening and impacting many SMEs looking to take advantage of loosening health regulations but need the talent to avoid significant challenges ahead. It is also slowing down digital transformation plans as the right talents prefer the opportunities and salaries of larger enterprises.
However, a new partnership between SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Microsoft is offering hope. The collaboration saw SSG create the Microsoft Let's Skill Up Program as part of the SkillsFuture Queen Bee initiative that reaches out to the SMEs directly and works with them to identify skills gaps in their businesses and curate customized training programs for their employees. SMEs can also enjoy enhanced absentee payroll support funding to help them defray their workforce costs when they send employees for training courses supported by SSG.
The program has seen great success to date and exceeded expectations. Since its launch, more than 30 SMEs have joined the Microsoft Let's Skill Up program. At least 79 employees from these SMEs are undergoing upskilling in IT in Microsoft Azure, security, modern workplace, and business applications.
"As a distributor, we feel the Let's Skill Up Program is a meaningful and timely program for our partners as they are able to access tailored skills advisory from Microsoft and fast-track the skilling pathways for their employees. This is a great relief in the midst of our busyness, and we are glad that there is finally someone who is thinking of and taking care of our skills development needs. We highly recommend this program for those looking to upskill their staff," said Adrian Heng, business development manager at Rhipe.
Essentially, Microsoft Let's Skill Up Program introduces workplace learning to SMEs. There are two main reasons: a lot of time is spent learning on the job, and we now know that workplace learning can effectively optimize work performance and improve employee engagement and retention.
"Human resources have always been the most valuable asset in our company, and Microsoft's Let's Skill Up Program has shown us how we could further upskill our workforce and create a structure to harness learning at the workplace. We are very appreciative of their support,” said Oh Kwang Leong, the managing director at Nanyang Tech.
The program allows companies to apply workplace practices to learn, unlearn, relearn, and reimagine innovation. As a result, business leaders can chart a course for themselves and their employees to embrace tech intensity and foster more collaborative learning.
"With analytics and professional services as our core businesses, our people have always been our priority. Microsoft's Let's Skill Up Program has given us valuable exposure to deepen our learning and development expertise and create opportunities to accelerate a culture of innovation through people development," added Matthew Choo, the co-founder at ClayOps.
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