Singtel investing S$45 million to boost employees’ digital skills

Singtel Logo

Singtel is investing S$45 million over three years to deepen the digital skills of its 12,600 employees in Singapore and enable them to thrive in the digital economy.

The initiative, dubbed ACT, aims to Accelerate employee learning and skills development, empower employees to Co-create their skills pathways and Transform employee roles to ensure they remain relevant in the digital economy.

Singtel’s Group Chief Human Resources Officer Aileen Tan said, “With technology and our industry evolving so quickly, constant re-skilling and retraining is critical. The ACT initiative is designed to help our employees deepen their digital capabilities as we accelerate our digital transformation efforts. This includes programmes that encourage them to embrace continuous learning and actively manage their professional development in anticipation of longer career spans. This will ensure we have an agile, future-ready workforce that can meet the demands of the new economy.”

At a signing ceremony, Singtel and the Union of Telecoms Employees of Singapore (UTES) inked a three-year Memorandum of Understanding on the formation of a Company Training Committee (CTC) to implement the ACT initiative.

Ng Chee Meng, Secretary-General of NTUC, who witnessed the signing of the MOU as Special Guest, said, “Technology, media and telecommunications companies are driving digital innovation and transformation, but they are not immune to the challenges brought about by Industry 4.0. In this vein, I’m encouraged that Singtel is the first telco to partner the Labour Movement in setting up a CTC to help their workers be future-ready with new or different skillsets. With continued commitment from our tripartite partners, I’m confident that we can achieve three big ‘Wins’: Win for Singapore’s economy, Win for our businesses, and importantly, Win for our workers.”

Thuvinder Singh, UTES General Secretary, said, “At UTES, we regularly walk the ground to understand the impact of technology on our employees’ careers and we have also worked closely with NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) on various training platforms. Through this CTC, UTES will work closely with Singtel in adopting the 3Cs approach – Commitment, Constant Collaboration and Cohesiveness – to train and prepare employees for jobs of the future. Technology may advance at an unrelenting pace, but as long as employees, union and management keep a positive mindset and embrace change, we can progress and thrive in this transformation journey!”

The signing ceremony took place at Singtel@8George, officially opened as a facility for Singtel employees to come together to learn, ideate and innovate. Located on the site of the former City Exchange which was one of Singapore’s earliest telephone exchanges, Singtel@8George has four levels of multifunctional and interactive spaces for activities such as training, team building workshops, townhalls and hackathons.

Since embarking on its digital transformation in 2012, Singtel has digitalised its core consumer and enterprise businesses as well as developed new growth drivers in the areas of digital marketing and cyber security. It is also building out a regional digital ecosystem in mobile financial services and gaming, and leveraging analytics and artificial intelligence to improve customer service and customer engagement.

Accelerate skills development

To support the ACT initiative, Singtel recently launched a digital learning app called CURIOUS to help employees on their digital learning journeys. It features curated learning channels with some 100,000 courses and videos covering topics from technology to leadership. This will complement classroom sessions and on-the-job training, enabling staff to develop new competencies in areas such as analytics, automation and design thinking, in a shorter time. The app also allows employees at every stage in their careers the flexibility of customising their learning experience according to their individual needs.

Empower employees to co-create their skills pathway

Additionally, Singtel employees will be empowered to develop skillsets to match the needs of the digital economy. For example, the ‘4G to 5G Pathways’ course will prepare network engineers for 5G, equipping them with new 5G skills.

Singtel also gives all full-time staff two days of leave each year to attend SkillsFuture courses. By early 2020, some 3,000 Singtel staff are set to benefit from a customised SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme aimed at strengthening their digital skills.

Transform employee roles

As Singtel’s businesses and operations evolve, job roles change. Singtel is proactively helping employees to re-skill and take on new or enhanced roles that will support its strategic business priorities. For example, mid-career IT systems consultants have managed to re-skill themselves as IT security consultants supporting customers in cyber security solutions.

Employees are also being trained to create bots that can help in repetitive and time-consuming tasks such as resolving common technical issues encountered on customers’ premises or automating claims processing. This frees them up to focus on higher value activities and take on new responsibilities.

In the past year, over 600 employees have undergone skills conversion to take on new roles through initiatives like the Professional Conversion Programme and Company-Led Training programmes. Another 1,000 employees are expected to do so by early 2020.