Approaching full capacity

HR has always had an important focus on building up learning and development opportunities across the organisation. But it has only been relatively recently that the profession has started to look closely at its own career development. But as Jonathan Ramsay, head of the Master of Human Capital Management programme at SIM University, explains, HR-specialist training is now taking off across a wide range of platforms

Looking at back at 2016, what were the biggest changes that SIM University saw in relation to how HR professionals are building their own skillsets, and developing themselves?

Training and development is increasingly valued by all types of employees, and there is a growing acknowledgement that both individuals and organisations have a responsibility for career development and the building of skills. This is doubly important for HR professionals, since they are both enablers of this trend and individuals with their own aspirations and career goals.

The education and training market is becoming more and more diverse, and this is good news for HR practitioners. Part-time undergraduate and graduate degrees, “nanodegrees”, bite-sized courses, skills-based training… there are so many options for those wishing to upskill. Given the big changes affecting the profession, it’s vitally important that these options are available.

Do you expect these trends to continue in 2017? Are there any other changes on the horizon?

Yes, I expect these trends to continue. There will be more diversity in terms of the types of education and training available, as well as the kind of institutions or organisations that are providing it. It will be increasingly important for HR professionals to have a clear idea of the new skills required, both within their organisation and the wider market, and to be discerning about the trainers and educators they engage with.

HR professionals should look to institutions with a strong track-record in HR education, and find a qualification or programme that works for them.

The Singapore government is expected to launch a professional certification system for the HR profession this year – how do you think that will impact HR practitioners locally?

Anything that strengthens the HR field has to be a good thing. I know a lot of work has gone into the development of the National HR Professional Certification Framework, and it’s clear that it is targeting the right areas, where HR professionals have not been traditionally, such as change leadership or business literacy.

I’m sure many professionals will choose to pursue certification in addition to formal HR qualifications.

Will it also change the way universities and training providers operate in the HR professional development market?

I think universities and training providers have been observing the same trends that prompted the Singapore government to develop the framework, and many will have modified their curricula and methods accordingly. Certainly at UniSIM we have developed undergraduate, graduate and Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses that develop core HR competencies while at the same time instilling a more strategic mindset and ensuring fluency in business fundamentals.

There has been widespread agreement for a while now on how the HR profession needs to change, and so there’s a natural alignment between the government’s proposed certification framework and the training we provide. One will support the other.

What programmes does SIM University offer HR professionals looking to further develop their careers and skillsets?

Firstly, we offer a part-time Bachelor of HR Management programme designed for working adults wishing to study for a first undergraduate degree. The curriculum has recently been redeveloped and is, we believe, the most comprehensive HR coverage of any undergraduate degree in Singapore.

Secondly, we also offer a part-time Master of Human Capital Management programme, which is aimed at first degree holders wishing to move into the HR profession or for current HR professionals to build up their skills as HR leaders. Classes are during evenings and weekends, enabling students to balance work, study, and personal time.

Thirdly, we offer a wide range of modular CET courses. These can be taken individually yet are “stackable” in the sense that they provide credits towards larger qualifications including undergraduate degrees. Many of these courses are also eligible for the use of SkillsFuture credits, making it even easier for professionals to study.

UniSIM is in the process of becoming a fully autonomous university; independent of the SIM Group and under the ambit of the Ministry of Education. This is an exciting time for our university, and the strength and depth of our HR training will continue to grow. Our commitment to applied, lifelong education will remain, and we’re looking forward to welcoming more learners who wish to be a part of this journey.

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