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NTUC Training and Transformation helps accelerate company and workforce transformation efforts amidst Covid-19

​Helping improve workers’ wages, welfare and work prospects remains core to the work of the Labour Movement. In particular, the Company Training Committee (CTC) was one of the initiatives launched in April 2019 by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to support workers in achieving better work prospects through company training.

To further support the work of our CTCs, NTUC set up the NTUC Training and Work Prospects in September 2019 to help companies with CTCs drive business and workforce transformation. To better reflect the purpose in driving workers’ training in tandem with companies’ transformation, the department was renamed NTUC Training and Transformation (T&T) starting 2021. To help companies develop near-, mid- and long-term business strategies and workforce plans, NTUC T&T has adopted the Operation & Technology Roadmap (OTR) tool to facilitate the process for each company.

Companies with CTCs are doing more to hasten transformation
Due to the impact of COVID-19, many companies have been forced to review their business models and pivot their operations for survival and sustainability. COVID-19 has also impacted the job security of workers, with some already losing their jobs. Through the help of NTUC T&T and unions, and with the use of OTR, companies with CTCs are able to visualise how their businesses and workers can transform even more quickly by capitalising on key trends.
OTR is conducted in a series of workshops facilitated by NTUC T&T for companies’ management partners, human resource representatives and union leaders or worker representatives so that together, they can chart business and workforce strategies and the direction forward. At the end of the OTR process, each company will receive a customised roadmap – covering new products and services, technology, talent and other resource requirements necessary to pivot for recovery and longer term transformation, with the CTC platform supporting training and transformation efforts. 
Faced with additional pressures brought about by COVID-19 pandemic, many companies with CTCs, especially those in the worst hit sectors, have worked with NTUC T&T in 2020 to embark on OTR to hasten their transformation. To date, NTUC has formed more than 600 CTCs and helped over 100 companies with CTCs, across multinational corporations and small and medium-sized companies, embark on their OTR journey. 
NTUC Deputy Secretary-General Dr Koh Poh Koon, who is also overseeing the NTUC T&T said, “While companies realise the need to transform, many of them are not sure how to get started. This is where NTUC T&T can come in to help – working with management and union representatives, we employ OTR as a strategic planning tool to systematically map out transformation plans together with the resources required. We will also work with the different stakeholders to conduct training needs analysis to ensure that workers are well-equipped to support the desired transformation outcomes. Ultimately, by supporting companies’ transformation, we want to ensure that workers are not left behind – they should be trained and upskilled in tandem so that they can also enjoy better wages, welfare and work prospects.” 
One of the companies that have benefitted from OTR is Copthorne King’s Hotel Singapore (CKS). CKS is a unionised company under the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) and the company has completed their OTR with NTUC T&T in June 2020. Due to COVID-19, the number of tourist arrivals in Singapore fell more than 95% in Q3 and Q4 2020 and through OTR, the company managed to identify and prioritise the areas of transformation to facilitate business recovery. For more information on CKS’ transformation journey, please refer to the attached factsheet. 
While business has not yet returned to pre-COVID levels, CKS’ gross operating profits has recovered by close to 78% after implementing some of these solutions that were formulated through the OTR process. This has also helped raise productivity as workers are able to take on better jobs.  
CKS General Manager Mr Kung Teong Wah said, “COVID-19 has brought unprecedented disruption to the world. If we continue to do what we have always done, we will not be able to weather the storm. Change is essential. Through this collaboration with FDAWU, the CTC and Copthorne King’s Hotel leadership team, we were able to develop a 5-year OTR roadmap. This unified strategy gives a big picture perspective for short-, medium- and long-term planning. So far, we have implemented or are beta-testing almost 50% of the plans from the OTR.” 
Commenting on the OTR collaboration, FDAWU General Secretary Tan Hock Soon said, “FDAWU will continue to work closely with CKS to operationalise the strategies in the OTR and strengthen the workforce competencies through skills upgrading and capability development programmes, so that the hotel is best positioned to emerge stronger in the longer term. We look forward to partnering the hoteliers to navigate the business and manpower challenges arising from COVID-19 situation and press ahead with training and transformation to create sustainable win-win solutions for their business and their workers.”
Transforming to support virtual OTR
After Circuit Breaker measures were put in place last year, NTUC T&T had to put a pause on all OTR workshops as physical gatherings were prohibited. Even after Circuit Breaker measures were lifted, it was still challenging to conduct physical OTR workshops due to the safe management measures at the workplaces. In order to overcome this physical limitation, NTUC T&T worked with A*STAR to develop a virtual-OTR methodology in June last year, with many companies riding on the virtual platform to plan for recovery and transformation while staying safe and in adherence to safety measures. Close to 60 companies have adopted the virtual mode of OTR. 
Leveraging the ecosystem to push for sector-wide transformation 
Moving forward and in line with the renaming, NTUC T&T will be leveraging the Labour Movement ecosystem to push for more pervasive transformation across various sectors. By tapping on existing labour-management relations between unions and unionised companies, NTUC T&T aims to expand our reach beyond unionised companies and value-add to their partners, vendors as well as their suppliers. By doing so, we want to collectively help uplift the different companies across the sector so that workers in the industry can benefit from better wages, welfare and work prospects.