From Grab Pilot to Software Engineer: Why Odd-Job Companies Improve the Skills of Their Workers



Workers without marketable skills could be the losers if companies change their hiring policies, Professor Sumit Agarwal of the National University of Singapore Business School said in a commentary for the NAC earlier this year.

“Ideally, there would be programs for concert workers to be trained in skills appropriate to their areas of self-employment, which would create the potential for advancement in the sector,” he wrote.

He suggested these workers could learn how to generate leads and start their own concert business, noting that this would be in line with the government’s desire to build a “skilled, relevant and future-ready workforce.” .

Simply taking the time to improve one’s skills is a difficult task for many, said MP Yeo Wan Ling (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol).

Ms Yeo – an advisor to the NPHVA, the National Taxi Association and the National Delivery Champions Association, which are affiliated with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) – said this was particularly the case for concert workers, with their less predictable working hours.

“This makes it difficult for concert workers to follow conventional training programs, as this would require income sacrifices, including future income, as the incentives depend on the regularity and volume of work activity,” he said. she declared.

One of the priorities of the NTUC and its associations is to enable the training of self-employed workers, she said.

“This includes catering for training that adapts to the working models of concert workers, for example, in two-hour sessions during lull periods of the day.”

Ms. Yeo also highlighted the training in the form of “quality online courses,” such as the NPHVA initiative to provide and sponsor access to over 60 online courses in areas such as driving. safe, customer service and business fundamentals.

Companies like Grab or Deliveroo can provide such leveling opportunities for concert workers out of a sense of social responsibility, said career coach Adrian Choo.

These companies can anticipate the long-term career needs of their employees, who may not be able to drive passengers or deliver food indefinitely, noted the managing director of career consultancy Career Agility International.

Mr Choo notes that this also addresses the issue of underemployment – defined by the Ministry of Manpower as “underutilization of the productive capacity of the workforce”.

“So we have graduates who train for leadership positions, but they end up driving for Grab, and they don’t progress. And then when they are 40 years old and they go looking for work, they don’t have the necessary skills, ”he said.

This in turn becomes a problem, not only for concert workers, but for the economy, Choo said, pointing to a potential “huge skills gap”.

Upgrading opportunities need to be tailored to the individual, which requires longer-term career planning, he adds.

“The challenge is that the skills they have at the end of their education, when they enter the workforce, their skills are not really relevant,” he said.

As such, skills and training need to be continually updated, he said.

For Mr. Farhan, his new job is very different from what he was used to. The nature of the job means he’s constantly challenged and as such doesn’t feel too comfortable, he said.

He also appreciates the opportunity to learn from his more experienced colleagues, whom he treats as mentors.

“With that, at least I have an investment in myself,” he said. “In five to ten years, I will continue to grow. “


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