Ensuring quality jobs for blue-collar workers in the future

Companies must work with in partnership with governments and workers to ensure that transformation leaves no man behind.
By: | October 22, 2018


Ensuring that Singaporeans continue to be provided with and are well-placed to excel in high quality jobs is a key objective of Singapore’s Smart Nation ambition.

About the Author
Joseph Heng is the Head of Volvo Group Trucks Singapore, and  General Manager of UD Trucks Singapore.

It is especially critical to put in place clear processes to ensure that upskilling our workforce is keeping pace with the rapid adoption rate of new technologies, automation, and digitalisation in business operations.

Business-as-usual is no longer an option, and it is the responsibility of all parties – government, industry players, unions, employees – to take a pro-active role in ensuring that no man is left behind.

This includes the more vulnerable sectors of our workforce; our blue-collar workers.

Here are some ways we can all play a part in driving the transformation of a resilient and versatile Singapore workforce.


Investment in growth by employers, employees, and government

As employers ensure adequate upskilling programmes in place, employees must also invest time to adapt and learn new skills to remain employable.

In addition to company-driven training programmes, employers should also encourage their employees to take ownership of their careers through government initiatives such as Professional Conversion Programmes and SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme which will equip them with flexible and nimble cross-sector skills.

There are numerous government-initiatives introduced to support both employers and employees transition into our new reality.


Pursuing hands-on, forward-looking training programmes

We believe in the development of our workforce through hands-on and forward-looking training programmes.

For example, UD Trucks has a comprehensive UD’s Driver Development programme for our customers, where we provide their drivers regular support and training to home their driving skills.

Heavy vehicles are becoming increasingly more advanced as we incorporate smart technologies to ensure greater drivability for drivers, operational efficiencies for businesses, and safety for all road users.

This is raised a notch in Japan where the UD Eco-Driving programme focuses on educating drivers on how best to operate the trucks to ensure fuel economy and eventually reduce environmental impact.

Held annually, it comprises of actual driving lessons targeting over 3,000 participating drivers in 190 places across Japan and ensures that their driving competencies are constantly adapted and improved to the latest truck innovations.

Just like in other jobs – drivers need to be equipped and savvy in leveraging these innovations where hands-on learning guided by experts will allow them to pick up the skills quickly and with confidence.


Easing workforce into more digital-centric ways of working

They say it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks. It is about learning incrementally and collectively as a workforce so that we can adapt to the new normal.

The Food & Beverage industry provides a good reference for others to emulate with adoption of new technologies to improve business productivity.

This includes cashless payment options and mobile devises to take orders and automate queuing systems. In this instance, staff learn how to operate the new systems which are not radically different from their initial way of working.

To ensure a smooth transition for employees, it is vital for companies to be communicating the changes to your workers, making sure they understand the entire cycle of digitalisation and how their role will evolve.

By beginning this orientation early, employers will can accurately assess skills gaps internally and match the necessary training programmes for workers.

This helps reduce anxiety and build trust amongst employees, providing them greater motivation to upskill and keep pace with changes in the workplace knowing that they have the support of their employers to do so.



Let’s go at it together

As we continue to progress, a mindset shift needs to happen. Everybody needs to be empowered and self-motivated to continue to improve ourselves.

At UD Trucks, we believe in propelling successes in Singapore with innovation that puts people first.

That, to us, also means looking out for drivers who are critical to the success of our customers’ businesses, especially in the logistics and construction industries.

So let us together commit to playing a pro-active role in boosting progress of our people, our economy, and our nation. In a time of significant disruption, the constant we need to adhere to, is our ability to change.