Monday, 1 Jun 2020

CAG to spend $10m to train workers in digital skills

Changi Airport Group (CAG) will spend $10 million to train its workers on digital-focused skills in the next two years.

This programme is the latest in a series of efforts by the group to tap technology to improve travellers’ experience, amid intensifying competition among global air hubs.

Its 2,000 employees will attend up to 10 days of the training over the two years, with part of what they learn tailored to their specific jobs.

CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang, who announced the scheme yesterday, said the training will first focus on “customer obsession”.

“In adopting new technology and applying new skills, we must first find new ways to understand our customers deeply and surprise them,” he added.

“The customer journey is rapidly evolving with an expectation for frictionless travel, and deep digital opportunities await us.”

Beyond that, the training also aims to develop a mentality that is open to learning new skills as technology evolves, and “build the skill sets needed for CAG to win in the competition of air hubs”.

Changi Airport is the world’s seventh-busiest airport in terms of international traffic, handling 65.6 million passengers last year and about 7,400 flights weekly, or about one every 80 seconds.

CAG revealed the training plans at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Singapore Manual and Mercantile Workers’ Union (SMMWU) yesterday.

The signing was witnessed by NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng.


We must be fast enough to stay relevant with the changes of today, but also have the stamina to keep at it for the next 10, 50 to 100 years.

MR LEE SEOW HIANG, chief executive of Changi Airport Group.

Under the MOU, CAG will work with the union to set up a Company Training Committee to help the group and its workers transform for the future.

Mr Lee said that the limiting constraint for CAG’s transformation in the coming years will not be technology but how fast its workers can adapt.

He added: “We must be fast enough to stay relevant with the changes of today, but also have the stamina to keep at it for the next 10, 50 to 100 years.

“The journey forward is made a lot easier with our close cooperation with the SMMWU, our union staff branch leaders and partners.”

Mr Lee said CAG’s new Digital Innovations Ventures Analytics (Diva) Hub, which opened this year, is an example of how the group is using digitisation to improve travellers’ experience.

Located at Terminal 2, Diva is touted as a collaboration space designed to foster the development of ideas. About 20 full-time staff work at Diva in collaboration with CAG staff from other departments and external vendors to find in-house solutions to various problems.

One project that it has rolled out is PlayPass, a digital reservation and redemption system that lets eligible customers reserve slots at events organised by CAG.

It has been used by 30,000 customers since it was launched in June, and has helped to cut wait time in queues by 50 per cent, said CAG. It has also reduced the time taken to complete a redemption to 30 seconds, down from three minutes.

Mr Lee said the various efforts ultimately come together to ensure that CAG defies the current rate at which companies fail.

“Companies that don’t reinvent themselves, don’t think about digital disruption and don’t think about retraining and upskilling their workforce will be part of that churn,” he said.

“CAG is determined to fight that trend and succeed in this age of digitisation.”

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