Representational image. Photo courtesy: Unsplash

Temasek on Tuesday announced a SGD 150 million community gift — named “T-Spring” — in line with its community objective of advancing capabilities. The T-Spring gift aims to build a resilient and future-ready workforce in Singapore that will enable businesses to meet the needs of a changing marketplace. The gift was announced at Temasek’s annual Community Day, which also marks the company’s 50th anniversary this year, an official news release said.

Representational image. Photo courtesy: Unsplash

Working with partners, the gift embodies a catalytic approach to develop and roll out new initiatives in three areas:

Workforce Skills Development: Upskilling workers in at-risk sectors and enhancing the employability of seniors, persons with disabilities, and neurodiverse individuals.

Scholarships: Cultivating a strong talent pipeline by improving access to tertiary education, especially for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with an initial focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent to bridge industry skill gaps.

Fellowships: Deepening ecosystem expertise and knowledge in Singapore by bringing in pinnacle industry experts to partner Temasek and its ecosystem to drive innovation and develop solutions for the betterment of Singapore.

To sustain efforts over the long term, 4 percent of the gift’s principal amount will be distributed annually.

Lim Boon Heng, Chairman of Temasek Holdings, said, “Human capital has been the driver of our journey, and plays an important role in our contribution to Singapore. As Temasek turns 50, we continue to do things today, with tomorrow in mind. Our T-Spring community gift aims to enable Singapore’s workforce and organisations to better prepare for a different world and open up new opportunities for all. It reflects our commitment to this and future generations, so every generation prospers.”

Graphical representation of Temasek's functions. Photo courtesy: temasek.com.sg
Graphical representation of Temasek’s functions. Photo courtesy: temasek.com.sg

Dilhan Pillay, Executive Director and CEO of Temasek Holdings, said, “Temasek’s DNA is rooted in Singapore’s history. Growing alongside the nation, we recognise that businesses cannot succeed unless societies thrive. We must not only do well, but also do right and do good. Through structured community contributions and our own staff volunteer efforts, we have continually given back to our wider community over generations. Our T-Spring gift and annual Community Day furthers our commitment to building a better and more inclusive tomorrow for Singapore.”

Skills development for workers in at-risk sectors, seniors, persons with disabilities (PwDs), and neurodiverse individuals (NDIs)

Artificial intelligence and longer working lives are major trends driving the need for workforce transformation. This need is especially pronounced in Singapore, which is experiencing an ageing population and shrinking workforce.

Skills development will be a crucial lever to help older workers and those in at-risk sectors to achieve career longevity and relevancy. In addition, there is a concerted effort globally and locally to drive inclusive hiring, and this presents an opportunity to better integrate PwDs and NDIs.

“Temasek takes a catalytic approach to workforce skills development and will collaborate with industry players, unions, and training providers to pilot job redesign solutions and bridge existing training gaps. The programmes will aim to help at-risk workers build competencies and encourage employers to pursue inclusive hiring of seniors, PwDs, and NDIs,” the release stated.

Fostering future-ready talent to bridge industry skill gaps

According to the Economic Development Board, Singapore’s potential new engines of growth include areas such as the green economy, artificial intelligence, and precision medicine. Meeting the talent demands of these growth sectors is crucial and will require workers with emerging skills and training in STEM.

Temasek will provide tertiary scholarships to address needs for the future workforce and create pathways for personal and academic growth. Scholarships will be offered to undergraduates and postgraduates, and will prioritise applicants for STEM studies and from disadvantaged backgrounds. Temasek is targeting the AY25/26 student intake for its first batch of scholars.

Collaborating with global experts to drive innovation

Singapore continues to invest heavily in research, innovation, and enterprises, at about 1 percent of its Gross Domestic Product between 2021 and 2025. The country has built its innovation ecosystem on partnerships and networks, allowing organisations to crowd in fresh ideas, diverse perspectives, and innovative thinking from global leaders.

Temasek will add to those efforts with the launch of a fellowship programme to attract pinnacle industry experts to partner with Temasek and its ecosystem to drive innovation for the betterment of Singapore. They include well-regarded individuals and global leaders in fields such as artificial intelligence and sustainable solutions. The establishment of a distinguished community of Temasek Fellows will facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise.

Giving back as OneTemasek

Temasek’s social licence to operate as a global investor depends on its ability to create value for all stakeholders, including the communities it operates in. Since 2003, Temasek has been setting aside a portion of its net positive returns above its risk-adjusted cost of capital for community gifts, to achieve its community objectives of Connecting People, Uplifting Communities, Protecting the Planet, and Advancing Capabilities. The T-Spring gift is one of the initiatives that will be funded from this source.

Apart from community gifts, Temasek staff actively volunteer for community activities throughout the year. Temasek’s incorporation date, 25 June, is designated as its annual Community Day where staff give back to the community as one. This year, to commemorate its 50th anniversary, more than 500 staff volunteers from Temasek, Temasek Trust, Temasek Foundation, Temasek Trust Asset Management, and Stewardship Asia Centre participated in Temasek’s Community Day.

Together with 16 community partners, volunteers gathered to 1) enhance a HDB void deck space through mural wall painting and engage the community through a care pack distribution; 2) refresh the homes of disadvantaged seniors living in one-room flats; 3) support biodiversity and combat climate change with a tree planting session; and 4) prepare youths for employability through learning visits.