TODAY reports: Twenty-two SMEs, including seven family businesses, have signed up for courses this year, compared with fewer than 15 SMEs between 2012 and last year, according to private education institution Kaplan Singapore.

SINGAPORE: After building up a successful chicken rice business over 20 years, Mr Teo Jew Kit was ready to take it to the next level. However, he realised that he lacked the skills to train a team of leaders that he could count on to expand his company.

So last month, the Jew Kit Hainanese Chicken Rice founder, along with four of his senior staff members, enrolled in a Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) course offered by private education institution Kaplan Singapore.

On why he got his staff to join him in taking up the Leadership and People Management (LPM WSQ) course, Mr Teo, 46, said: “It gives me an opportunity to bond with my staff, learn with them and, at the same time, to groom leaders for my expanding chicken rice chain. Many of my employees are technical people and through training, they will be able to improve their skills in communication and leadership.”

Mr Teo is among the growing number of family business owners who are turning to WSQ courses to ensure the continuity of their business.

At a media conference on Tuesday (Oct 21), Mr Wayne Marriott, Kaplan’s director of Curriculum and Learning Design, said the institution has seen more family businesses expressing their interest in signing up their staff members for WSQ courses.

Since July last year, Kaplan has also been receiving more enquiries from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on whether business owners can participate in WSQ courses. For example, 22 SMEs, including seven family businesses, have signed up for courses this year, compared with fewer than 15 SMEs, none of which were family businesses, between 2012 and last year.

Apart from the LPM WSQ course, Mr Teo also enrolled 18 of his staff members in the WSQ Employability Skills course designed to equip staff with generic skills such as effective teamwork and emotional management.

To make time for the WSQ courses, Mr Teo would close his stalls on selected dates. He added that the WSQ courses were able to “promote bonding and productivity among the staff”.

Ms Lim Li Fang, an administration manager at the company, said attending the LPM WSQ course helped her to better understand her colleagues.

“The staff members have different ways of thinking. When managing them, it is important to know their strengths and weaknesses. So, attending the course has allowed me to better communicate with and manage them,” she added.

Mr Teo said: “When we complete the WSQ courses, I hope that our staff can pass down what they learnt to new workers and influence them to do the same.”

Source: TODAY, 24 October 2014. Click to view site