Client Story: How SIM is driving the re-education and upskilling of Singaporeans affected by COVID-19

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Client Story: How SIM is driving the re-education and upskilling of Singaporeans affected by COVID-19

Client Story: How SIM is driving the re-education and upskilling of Singaporeans affected by COVID-19
why innovation!
6 min
14 Apr. 2022

The SGUnited Skills (SGUS) Programme, established by the Singapore Government, offers a wide range of subsidised, professional courses designed to help Singaporeans, especially those affected by COVID-19, transition into new roles, through training of in-demand and emerging skills.  

Our client, SIM, partnered with the government to provide training tailored to the Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics sector. As a vital part of Singapore’s economy, this sector requires a constant influx of trained professionals.  

Changing intrinsic habits through a thoughtful and human-centric approach 

SIM was seeking experienced training partners who were proficient in adapting and implementing Agile in a non-IT/software development context. It was imperative that participants from varied, traditional backgrounds were able to understand and apply Agile in a general business context.  

Throughout the current pandemic, companies began to realise that the traditional way of working left them vulnerable to external factors like COVID-19. They were rigid and unable to pivot or unable to absorb the shock to keep going.  

Thus, agile grew in importance, not just in Singapore, but around the world. It enables enterprises to make quick changes according to market trends as well as bulletproof themselves to better survive sudden, destructive situations. Organisations that undergo agile transformation require their own staff to be trained in agile, including as a Product Owner, Scrum Master, or SAFe.

Additional knowledge in product management like Kanban are also good tools for an agile coach to know.   

The programme with SIM imparts this knowledge to the trainees who can then go on to launch a new career in a company that is undergoing agile transformation.  

However, teaching Agile to individuals, especially those who have spent several decades working in a non-Agile way, can be challenging. As Agile often contrasts with traditional Waterfall ways of working, professionals who want to adopt Agile methodologies typically experience mental, and sometimes emotional resistance toward the subject, especially when they first enter the programme.  

As unfamiliarity with the subject is such a challenging factor, the key to the programme’s success was why innovation!’s ability to customise the syllabus and present the topics in an understandable and digestible format. Central to this were case studies and relevant examples drawn from various industries to better relate the subject and instill greater understanding in the trainees.  

why innovation! has a long and detailed history of successful enterprise and team transformations, and our approach to innovation and leadership aligned closely with SIM’s.  

As part of the programme, why innovation! customised and delivered training on PSPO 1, Kanban and Lean, Scaled Agile Framework, and Agile Leadership

why innovation! coaches obtained certifications specifically to teach SIM trainees 

One of the more particular challenges involved the trainers themselves. As part of SkillsFuture Singapore’s (SSG) requirements, all why innovation! trainers must be ACLP/ACTA certified to conduct training courses under the SGUS programmes. The ACLP requirement extends to all courses under the SSG banner of which SGUS is just one. 

Watch: Highlights of why innovation! Entrepreneurship program with NAFA students

This requires the trainers to undergo a process that can take several months to complete. While why innovation!’s trainers were heavily engaged on other projects, they were also excited at the prospect of educating and passing on new knowledge.  

Several of them committed to the thorough and involved process of becoming ACLP certified to be able to conduct these public, professional courses. 


“why innovation!’s trainers facilitate classes well, [are] confident in delivery, and effective in identifying learners’ learning needs. The trainers are patient in helping learners who need extra help and sometimes put in extra time after class to ensure learners achieve their learning objectives.  

The trainers are also organized and punctual for lessons, able to manage online lessons and engage students using Miro, a visual collaboration platform. They demonstrate agility and can handle complex group dynamics.  

Feedback from learners: Our learners find why innovation!’s trainers motivating, encouraging, and knowledgeable. They also appreciate that the trainers take time to answer all questions to the best of their ability.” Joan Lim, SIM Senior Lead (Enterprise Learning Solutions – FS & Govt) 

The SIM programme successfully transitioned trainees into new employment 

The programme aims to assist working professionals in acquiring new skills and applying them in a real work environment (through an industry attachment) – with the end goal of helping them secure new employment.  

With why innovation!’s participation, learners at the SIM programme have access to experienced Agile consultants and coaches, who bring expertise in training and guiding people unfamiliar with Agile to adopt and eventually master it.

Through comprehensive training, which typically runs over three to five days, trainees are equipped with the foundational understanding they need on specific Agile topics – including the methodologies, frameworks, and tools that will successfully upskill them.  

The SIM programme has already seen many trainees successfully find new employed roles across a variety of sectors, such as aerospace as a Scrum Master; software development as a Project Manager, transitioning to a Product Owner; and marine transportation as a Product Owner.  

One trainee even found long-term employment as a consultant with why innovation!   

Since why innovation! began training in September 2021, we have conducted over 50 classes. 

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