Dr Kwan Kian Hoong


Temasek SkillsFuture Academy

Temasek Polytechnic

Continuing Education as an Ecosystem that adapts to evolving needs


Recent announcements in Singapore Budget 2024, evident in substantial funding support, will further bolster our sustained efforts towards Continuing Education. The availability of SkillsFuture Funding and Credits, coupled with the new training allowance initiative, will open more doors for individuals to embrace continuous learning and alleviate much financial constraints.


As an Educator, Researcher, and Lifelong Learning Advocate, I’ve witnessed the evolution of training methodologies, and recognised the critical need for a paradigm shift in adult learning. Continuing Education is no longer about ticking off training sessions, but more about creating profound impact on people and organisations.


Shift towards Customised Training

Early in my career, I observed the common scenario where, employees are “required” to attend orchestrated corporate trainings, no doubt of good intent, to be “reskilled” or “upskilled”. These trainings were often instructional, task-oriented and ends off with an assessment on their knowledge and skills competency. Upon returning to work, they often experience diminished retention of knowledge and skills learnt, due to a lack of opportunities for practice in the work environment.


I'm heartened by the shift in the employers’ mindsets over the years. More and more organisations are now forward-thinking and recognise the need for customised training programmes aligned with both their business needs, and the unique profiles of their workforce.


Frame Learning Around Companies’ needs and challenges

I fondly recall one of our collaborations with a food manufacturing company. Working closely as partners, we listened, mutually supported, and developed an IOT-enabled automation solution together. The end solution came coupled with a digitalisation workflow for assuring production quality, and reducing material wastage; and further supplementary training in dashboarding and data visualisation spun-off from this collaboration.


In another instance, we took on a consultancy role for a cosmetic manufacturing company to help them transform their assembly factory. We didn't just provide training; we collaborated to ideate, develop, and implement solutions. This immersive approach not only met regulatory standards, but also elevated the entire manufacturing process.


Customising Learning Pathways to pace and provide ‘Just-in-time’ Training

Recently, we also worked with some organisations to further customise learning pathways that go beyond traditional classroom settings. We championed flexibility for both the organisations and their employees to plan and tailor their own learning journeys, via various avenues such as online and modular training, consultancy, and workshops.


Our training programmes are progressive, coupled with provision of subjects or credit exemptions, we enable employees to pursue a formal qualification like a Diploma, Specialist Diploma, and even a Degree programme, through our partnerships with local universities. For those from NITEC, our learning pathways allow them exemptions to a Diploma or even direct entry into a Specialist Diploma, providing them with a further streamlined and efficient educational journey.


At Temasek Polytechnic, we recognise the need to provide customised and ‘just-in-time’ training. We are fortunate to be empowered to take proactive measures for our people to remain at the forefront of knowledge. We promote periodic staff attachments back to various industries to sharpen our relevancy, and to enhance or deepen our skills through applied research, addressing industry-wide issues or developing new products.


A Continuous Learning Journey for Ourselves

We are mindful of our mission to prepare working adults for a future of dynamic change, with relevant knowledge, life-long skills, character, and a thirst for continuous improvement, and we closely align ourselves with our Nation’s aspiration and commitment towards lifelong learning.


In the past two years, we actively collaborated with Industry Leaders and Government Agencies, and launched more than 5 new state-of-the-art Centres of Excellence in emerging and flourishing sectors such as Generative AI, Sustainability, Health and Wellness, Advanced Manufacturing, E-commence, etc.


We stand eager to leverage the various new SkillsFuture initiatives and funding, to help realise the ambitions and continuing education needs of our corporate partners, and adult learners alike. Our commitment is to craft targeted, efficient and effective learning pathways and training programs, to upskill our Nation’s workers and transform businesses.


In conclusion, I believe it's more than just imparting knowledge; it's about creating a learning ecosystem that adapts to the evolving needs of individuals and industries.