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LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT FEATURE

It has been a breakout year of sorts for learning and development in 2016, with the launch of several new and bold initiatives. HRM Asia explores what lies ahead in 2017 Sham Majid sham@hrmasia.com.sg

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016 has certainly been a momentous year in the Learning and Development (L&D) landscape. From the progressively-steady rollout of multiple programmes emanating from Singapore’s flagship SkillsFuture initiative, to the soft launch of the country’s National HR Certification Framework (NHRPCF) for HR professionals, the L&D sector is bustling with renewed vigour and purpose. But if 2016 is regarded as a watershed year in the L&D space, 2017 promises to be the year where the practice fully takes centre-stage in Singapore.

Self-direction Throughout 2016, a plethora of SkillsFuture initiatives have been unveiled across a myriad of industries in Singapore. The core goal of the SkillsFuture platform is to inculcate Singaporeans with the necessary skillsets, both technical and softer competencies, to ensure they are employable and are able to rise through the career ladder over the long term. However, unlike many previous initiatives which required L&D departments to hand-hold employees along the training journey, SkillsFuture is based on a concept of individual ownership. This means every single employee is responsible for their own career development for the length of their careers and beyond. With individuals able to plot their own training pathways, Dr Trevor Yu, Associate Professor of Strategy, Management, and Organisation, Nanyang Business School, says L&D will trend towards a more self-directed process. This means individuals will have more control over the planning of their

learning journey, as opposed to relying on prescribed employer-determined schedules. “L&D will be a less-structured but ongoing process,” Dr Yu says.

Integration is key While SkillsFuture enables individuals to be accountable for their own learning and development, this does not mean that organisations are completely shut out from the initiative. Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) president Kurt Wee has previously encouraged employees to partner with their firms to tap on the different programmes under the SkillsFuture umbrella and expand their learning. In particular, he emphasised that any company-supported training should be done “in conjunction with resource programmes”, including those under the SkillsFuture framework. Likewise, since SkillsFuture essentially places employees in charge of what and when they want to learn, Dr Yu says employers should aim to integrate their own L&D plans with the SkillsFuture

plans of their staff. “This may also be a good opportunity for employers to get a better understanding of employee preference for courses and development opportunities in general, so that learning journeys can be customised around the employee’s individual interests and schedule,” he says. With customisation and individual learning pathways being key foundational aspects underlying the SkillsFuture framework, it is more pertinent than ever for HR departments to further involve their employees in planning what to offer and scheduling when learning and development occurs.

Certifying HR One key L&D platform for HR professionals themselves is the NHRPCF, which is expected to be fully launched in the middle of 2017. The NHRPCF is a new national framework designed to distinguish key skillsets and competencies among HR practitioners. The NHRPCF will assess HR professionals in foundational and functional capabilities, as well as in mindsets and behaviours. It offers three levels of certification: certified HR professional, certified senior HR professional, and certified master HR professional. Participating professionals will need to

“Learning and Development will be a less-structured but ongoing process (in 2017)” Dr Trevor Yu, Associate Professor of Strategy, Management and Organisation, Nanyang Business School

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