Ask anyone on the street what they think about the trade union in Singapore, and most will probably give you a blank face and ask, we got trade union meh? Either that or give you a dismissive glance and say, the trade union here no use one. Don’t bother.
But are they truly ineffective, or are they working so much in the background, unseen, that their achievements have slipped beneath our notice?
We were fortunate enough to be invited to hear Mr Vivek Kumar, Executive Director of NTUC Membership, talk about the “Unusual Labour Movement”, and NTUC’s new “Be More” campaign.
Many of us won’t work with one company for long
NTUC acknowledges that employees today have evolving needs, and it is no longer enough to offer protection for the workers, who may even outlive their jobs or companies!
I’m sure if you have been putting your ears to the ground, you will have known that the world is changing. Not just changing, but at a rapid pace as well. Today, we are no longer guaranteed a job for life just because we work hard, nor are we guaranteed to find a job as long as we are not picky.
Some of our jobs haven’t even been invented yet
In fact, Mr Vivek Kumar shared that by the time our primary school kids enters the workforce in the future, 65% of them will be doing jobs that do not exist today.
That’s how fast the world is changing, and if you do not develop your professional skills to remain competitive, chances are you’ll be out of your old job no matter how hard you hope to keep it.
If you’re a PME and your company doesn’t have a union, you can contact NTUC to find out how to conduct a secret ballot to form one. Having a union to negotiate for fair workplace practices and (in worst-case scenarios) retrenchment benefits is better than facing your bosses by yourself.
To help you know where the good jobs are, NTUC is working together with WDA and e2i to develop a network of 500 adjunct career coaches where they will find experienced people in various fields to share lobangs such as new jobs, new industries and the best places to get new skills.
In addition, NTUC is creating a slew of subsidised Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) courses with NTU for you to keep up with technology and industry developments. Credits earned from these courses can count towards your future degree.
Registration has opened for the first batch of 28 TEL courses and a wide range of short courses, which you can use UTAP to subsidise half the fees up to $250 (for union members) and SkillsFuture to pay the rest.
Do you have the right connections to jump ship?
NTUC wants to provide training, development and even networking opportunities for you. And not just to prepare you for the jobs of today, but to groom you and connect you to the right people for the jobs of tomorrow as well.
I just started working, how can I level up?
For example, if you’re a young engineer who just started working, you can sign up for a Young Engineers Leadership Programme where you get to visit engineering and technology companies and also learn technical and soft skills you need to rise in your career (at a subsidised fee!).
I’m just a small fry, will I ever have a chance to meet C-suites?
You can sign up for a U Future Leaders’ series or mentorship session where you can network with CXOs and top guns of successful companies.
I am a freelancer, is there something for me?
Although freelance and self-employed workers cannot be represented by a union, you can get advice from NTUC’s Freelancer and Self-Employed Unit (FSEU).
If you’re into the creative scene, check out U Creative, where you can exchange ideas with fellow creatives and meet with industry leaders.
At the end of the day, NTUC wants to create a powerful network to help you Be More, not just in terms of workplace protection, but in career advancement and finding better jobs.
You only have to sign up for the programmes that suit your industry or interest and spend a productive day learning and meeting new people.
Or you can hang a sign around your neck and strike in the hot Singapore sun.
This article was first published on goodyfeed.com
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