SkillsFuture Crucial For Developing Future-Ready Workforce

Switzerland-Singapore Business Forum, the first of its kind in Singapore, brings together 200 representatives to discuss SkillsFuture

1. The Switzerland-Singapore Business Forum, titled SkillsFuture – Developing a Future Ready Workforce, was held in Singapore today (12 July 2016). The Forum was jointly hosted by the His Excellency Mr Johann Schneider-Ammann, President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, and Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. The Forum was part of Mr Schneider-Ammann’s State Visit to Singapore. It underscored the excellent bilateral relations between the two countries and the national efforts by both Governments on skills development.

2. This was the first time that such a Forum was held in Singapore. The Forum brought together stakeholders and experts from both countries to discuss the importance of learning at every stage of an individual’s career, as well as share best practices on equipping the workforce with the skills to stay relevant.

3. Mr Schneider-Ammann noted, “To be ready for future challenges, workers must be able to constantly upgrade their skills, adapt to the needs of the economy and, at the same time, bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application. Our vocational education and training system (VET) is only efficient and effective because of its strong public-private-partnership. All main stakeholders are involved, but the private sector is sitting in the driver’s seat. It is the companies and their professional association which are the main pillar of VET.”

4. DPM Tharman said, “There is much to be learnt from the Swiss system of skills education and training, particularly in the deep involvement and sense of ownership of Swiss enterprises in developing their people. That’s one of our priorities as we go forward with SkillsFuture – strengthening the collaboration between industry and education institutions, both in pre-employment training and in the course of people’s careers. It will be a key source of competitiveness and resilience in our workforce.”

5. About 200 Switzerland and Singapore representatives including policymakers, industry representatives, unions and academia attended the Forum. Also in attendance were President of Singapore National Employers Federation, Mr Robert Yap, and Chairman of ABB Ltd, Mr Peter Voser, who engaged in a panel discussion moderated by Principal & CEO of Nanyang Polytechnic Ms Jeanne Liew.

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