Photo from Spring Singapore

The government’s SkillFuture Mentors (SFM) programme launched in 2015 is seeing little participation with only 60 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) out of a 2,000 target signing up. The scheme was meant for 400 human resource consultant professionals to help mentor SME on how to train and develop their employees so that they can help attract and retain manpower.

Government agency in-charge of SFM, Spring Singapore, told media reporters that SMEs are not interested because they are more concerned with day-to-day operations. A director with Spring Singapore said:

“The low take-up rate is due to the fact that the pressures of running day-to-day operations of SMEs often take priority. The programme requires firms to commit manpower to work on learning and development initiatives, and the time to work closely with the mentor and the team.”

A mentor consultant with SFM said that SMEs are lacking in human resource development because of a lack of funds:

“SMEs have far less resources compared to bigger firms — for example, human resources departments of one or two staff, compared to 20 to 30 people at a multi-national companies. SMEs also sometimes lack the expertise to come up with required skills for workers and identifying the right courses and trainers.”

Singapore’s SMEs are addicted to cheap foreign labour and has only numerous occasions, through the Association of SMEs (ASME), lobbying the Singapore government to expand quota for foreign work passes.