The average Singaporean working adult spends around two and a half hours (151 minutes) every week solving computer related problems. Popular office IT applications can be a source of wasted time and decreased productivity even for those who work with them every day.
After structured computer training with just one application, 26 minutes or 17% of that wasted time could be saved every week and S$406 could be saved for an employer every year. These are findings from the ICDL Singapore Productivity Research project conducted by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL). In Singapore, ICDL standards are aligned against the Workforce Skills Qualifications Employability Skills (WSQ ES) Framework by the Workforce Development Agency.
COMPUTER SKILLS TRAINING
To evaluate the benefits of the WSQ ICDL programmes, 513 candidates across various industries and occupations were surveyed before and after training on one of the 6 WSQ ICDL modules selected. The candidates were asked how much time they spent every day dealing with computer difficulties, and if the certification programme had improved their confidences of using computer. The research project also compared the candidates’ digital literacy before and after training using the ICDL standards.
After the survey, IAL researchers attempted to calculate the potential dollar savings for employers using the average salary of the candidates. According to the research, 17% or 26 minutes saved per week translated to S$406 saved every year for the employer. Even after taking into consideration the cost of sending staff on the WSQ ICDL programme, there will still be positive savings for the employer.
PRODUCTIVITY GAINS AT WORK
Since 2010, more than 50,000 candidates in Singapore have enrolled in the WSQ/ICDL programme.
A large number of candidates were sponsored by their employers, such as Essilor AMERA Pte Ltd employee Ms Tan – an Executive Assistant.
Ms Tan was regularly required to produce presentations for her manager using Microsoft PowerPoint, but had not received any formal training. Relying on help from colleagues and using her self-taught basic computer skills, she could produce simple presentations but it took her a lot of time.
Her employer supported her by approving her request to attend training at TUV SUD PSB Learning Pte Ltd, an ICDL Accredited Testing Centre, and she passed her Presentation module examination.
Now the situation is very different, she says: “I am now able to prepare presentation slides without the difficulties I used to have. I am now more efficient and productive. I intend to take up more advanced level courses in November 2013 so I can increase my productivity level further and assist my boss in a much more efficient manner “
NEW SKILLS – BACK TO WORK
Singaporeans of all ages are helping themselves by learning new computer skills.
Mdm Pang, a retiree working as a clerk on a flexible hour scheme had found her return to the workplace ‘frustrating and challenging’. Unused to using a computer, she found it time consuming to process calculations manually and struggled to submit her reports electronically.