Put employees at the centre of upskilling

Ms Ng Lai Yee, managing partner and country leader, IBM Consulting, Singapore, emphasises the importance of developing cross-functional skills.

“The willingness to understand disciplines outside your core expertise will help you accelerate your career,” says Ms Ng, 49.

She encourages professionals to keep an open mind and look beyond tech companies for unique opportunities.

“For example, if you’re well-trained in deep tech, you can augment your capabilities by equipping yourself with business or industry-specific skill sets. That will open up a lot of pathways for you.”

She shares that organisations have to approach upskilling through an employee-centric lens. That is, to look at the employee’s career ambitions, and map the training curriculum – which could include courses, job rotations, and on-the-job training – along the lifecycle of the person’s career.

“After all, employees are your greatest assets,” she says.

“Being able to design relevant job roles and help employees plan a meaningful and resilient career trajectory, in a way that is aligned with the business goals, is critical to an organisation’s ability to succeed in the digital future.”

What Industry 4.0 means for manufacturing roles

More sectors will adopt Industry 4.0 in response to Singapore’s ageing workforce and manpower shortages.

Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, describes the integration of technologies – such as AI, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) – to improve manufacturing processes and supply chain management.

But to fully capture its benefits, workers need relevant cross-disciplinary skills in managing these technologies. For example, a logistics solutions manager could pick up big data analytics as a digital skill, carbon footprint management as a green skill, and process improvement as an Industry 4.0 skill.

Engineers at various stages of the manufacturing process could also benefit from picking up various types of digital skills.

Design engineers could learn more about big data analytics and programming and coding, while product engineers could equip themselves with agile software development and IoT application – all of which are non-traditional skills for engineers.

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