SembWaste signs MOU with Construction union to upskill workers

SembWaste, the waste management arm of Sembcorp Industries, and the Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees’ Union (BATU) have inked a partnership which will see both organisations working closely together to look at training gaps and needs for some 700 SembWaste employees. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at SembWaste’s Materials Recovery Facility, and witnessed by National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng on 6 June. 

Under the MoU, SembWaste and BATU will set up a Company Training Committee (CTC) comprising union representatives and SembWaste management. They will be supported by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), NTUC LearningHub and the National University of Singapore.

A CTC identifies training needs of workers and designs training programmes to equip them with the skills needed.

The CTC will design employee training programmes to equip SembWaste employees with skills needed to keep up with industry transformation.  This is said to be the first such initiative in Singapore’s waste management industry

Given the nature of the waste management sector, industry players have traditionally found it a challenge to draw local talent in Singapore. In particular, companies have found it difficult to attract locals to become waste collection truck drivers and crew members.     

In an effort to attract more local talent, SembWaste has set out to change the perception of the industry by transforming its operations, through initiatives such as introducing Asia’s first Econic refuse collection truck, which has special features that enhance safety and ease of use.

SembWaste is also Singapore’s first public waste collector to have voluntarily implemented the Progressive Wage Model since 2015, which helps to increase workers’ wages, encourage career progression through upgrading skills and improving productivity. 

“Our people are our greatest asset, and SembWaste believes in investing in training and programmes to enhance our employees’ competencies and well-being, so they are equipped to carry out their jobs efficiently and safely.” said Neo Hong Keat, Senior Vice President (Waste Management), Sembcorp Industries.

With the formation of its CTC, both SembWaste and BATU will work together to address challenges, not just at the company level, but at the industry level too. SembWaste will also look into developing relevant training and refresher courses to ensure that all its workers are kept abreast with the latest technology and best practices to perform their jobs safely and effectively.