Catalyzed by COVID-19, countries in Asia are experiencing a frantic pace of digital transformation and a growing mismatch between skills and jobs. In the midst of surviving and thriving beyond this chaos, governments recognized the urgency to call upon the educational technology (Edtech) sector to offer solutions to upskill and reskill their national workforces.
Singapore’s SkillFuture Credit Scheme
The national scheme and partnership between SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and NTUC LearningHub, Gnowbe, and ZilLearn is a result of the government’s realization that “people can find it challenging to find time go to for learning, upskilling, reskilling so … (with the new platforms), they can learn at their own time and own pace from the comfort of home,” said Minister of State for Education and Manpower, Gan Siow Huang.
This newly launched scheme is available to all Singaporean citizens aged 25 and beyond. The idea is to encourage Singaporean citizens to acquire new skills or improve existing ones through micro-learning courses. These courses are designed by industry experts and local Higher Education institutions. More so, the ZilLearn platform has a skills analysis tool that helps identify skills gaps based on a learner’s existing resume and past working experiences.
Malaysia’s lifelong learning revolution
Despite the rising rate of unemployment and the hastened emergence of the digital economy in Malaysia, due to the pandemic recession, “people may not feel the urgency to update their skills,” said Eric Ku, co-founder and executive director of iTrain Asia Pte Ltd.
However, Ku and other Edtech experts in Malaysia emphasized that continuous learning is of the utmost importance. As the economy slowly reopens, “Malaysian workers who are equipped with in-demand skills are more likely to see more job opportunities,” said Fahad Naeem, Head of Ops Randstad Malaysia.
Consequently, the Ministry of Human Resources launched the MYFutureJobs portal with the Malaysian Public Employment Service (PERKESO) and the e-LATiH platform with the Human Resources Development Corp (HRD Corp).
Kick off time
Although some of these learning platforms are not for free, employers in Singapore and Malaysia should consider investing in the upskilling and reskilling of their employees.
Indeed, employers who make good-faith efforts to invest in their employees’ skills development journey are leaders of organizations who thrive in today’s disrupted labor market.
Although, “some old-school companies believe that if they upskill their employees, there is a chance that they will leave. So, why would they spend money equipping people with skills? But I tell them that the only thing worse than upskilling someone and them leaving is having them stay in the company and be irrelevant,” said Andrew Pereira, CEO of Akademic GA.