Jeremy Ong: Championing The Future Of Lifelong Learning

Jeremy Ong: Championing The Future Of Lifelong Learning

Jeremy Ong , CEO

Jeremy Ong


Learning is commonly contemplated as something that takes place only at school and stops as we join the workforce. But learning can—and should— be something that we keep doing all the time, especially to grow and pave our way toward success. Learning is a never-ending process and today, it has become an indispensable tool for every career and organization. With a similar vision of making learning an integral part of people’s existence, Jeremy Ong joined NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB) as the CEO. He holds a deep passion for lifelong learning, which he is leveraging to support NTUC LHUB in its mission to power the lifelong employability of working people and transform companies through training.

A technology enthusiast, and great business leader, Jeremy has over 30 years of working experience with a profound admiration for digital transformation and innovation. Apart from having extensive experience and insights into technology, he also has great acumen in business management. Over the decades, he has been successful in spearheading large cross-functional teams with diverse skillsets in senior leadership roles across customer experience, product development, branding and marketing, and coordinating business functions and operations across various organizations. In his last role at AXA Singapore, he was instrumental in driving a company-wide initiative to simplify and innovate business processes and systems to strengthen customer propositions. Currently, as the CEO of NTUC LHUB, Jeremy is leveraging his rich experience to develop strategies that focus on digital and workplace transformation in championing the future of learning.

Below is an excerpt of CEO Insights’ exclusive interview with him.

Tell us about your leadership approach, as well as the values and guidelines that you follow as a leader.

I am passionate about nurturing people and helping them develop the skills that they require to lead a fulfilling professional life. For the same reason, throughout my career, I have been very focused on building and developing my team, which has indeed helped me, even during tumultuous situations, to achieve bigger goals. I believe leadership is all about leading and having a group of followers who are willing to walk together toward a shared vision. The success of every company is tied to the strength and the synergy of the people and the team. And I am fortunate to have a very diverse, experienced, and talented group of individuals and leaders who bring with them their unique perspectives.

As the CEO, I am focused on building an agile team which will enable me to pay more attention to areas such as employee engagement, delivering customer satisfaction, responding fast to changes, and building future business models concurrently. The environment we are operating in is ever-evolving, thus we need to be quick to align for action. So, I believe this is an important collective competency that we must have to drive our five-year business and digital transformation plan for NTUC LHUB.

What’s your vision for NTUC LearningHub?

My vision for NTUC LHUB is to provide a unique proposition to both workers and companies. To do that, we must understand and be able to articulate exactly what kind of in-demand and emerging skills are needed today so that we can develop, curate, and aggregate the necessary training to supply to the market. Next, we are here to push for all these good and relevant training programs to be optimally funded to ensure learning remains affordable and accessible.

Leadership is all about leading & having a group of followers who are willing to walk together toward a shared vision

I believe that all learnings should not go to waste, hence my vision is to also ensure that training programs can be stacked to qualifications for upskilling and reskilling. Ultimately, training must lead to job outcomes. Last but not least, we want to facilitate lifelong learning enabled by an ecosystem of partners, as well as through our digital offerings such as the NTUC LearningHub Learning eXperience Platform (LXP), a one-stop online learning mobile application that offers timely, bite-sized, and quality content to upskill anytime and anywhere.

How do you plan to invest your time in fulfilling the above-mentioned vision of the company?

We plan to grow our business in 13 sectors in Singapore, including Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in both deep-tech and tech- lite skills, Healthcare, Lifestyle, Retail, and the Sustainability sector, including Workplace Safety and Health, and Mental Wellness.

Recently our Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced in his budget speech a new initiative in this area, which is known as the Jobs-Skills Integrators. NTUC LHUB will play a key role in one of the three pilots for the Jobs- Skills Integrators. Through this, we want to be at the nexus of coordinating and providing skills training and working with partners to place trained individuals in relevant and emerging job roles. We also have the sizable outreach team and the network to touch not only individuals but many enterprises, both large-scale and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and especially unionized companies, as we are plugged into the labor movement's network of Company Training Committees (CTC) companies, Trade Associations and Chambers, and all tripartite committees involving the government, employers, and unions. I am transforming our outreach team to sell jobs and skills instead of courses as I believe that all training must lead to jobs outcome.

I am also trying to drive a new pathway to work more closely with large and leading compa­nies to curate and develop top-quality courses or programs. Employees going through these pro­grams will not only earn badges that are equivalent to stack­able micro-creden­tials but also help them stay employable in the same or different industries for a much lon­ger time. This will enable NTUC LHUB to be at the heart of Singapore's lifelong learning culture. We want to empower every learner with the skills they need to succeed personally and professionally, and we want to champion lifelong employability for all workers.

Based on your wealthy professional experiences, what would be your advice to budding leaders in the education industry?

The industry is evolving at a fast pace, and to be able to create a benchmark here, leaders need to have imagination and confidence. They must be committed to their vision and continuously strive to push for that so that they can succeed in this very competitive and disruptive business environment. Many businesses in the learning industry are trying very hard to sustain their growth. However, they are facing the challenge of transforming a business or developing new business models, a big part of which often requires the help of technology – understanding the possibilities of what technology can do provides the imagination of the possibilities for business transformation and how much a business can be transformed into. You can have practical imagination if you are a techie CEO or a business-savvy CTO, which helps to establish trust between the CEO and CTO to drive business transformation. This makes me believe that businesses need well-curated digital transformation and training programs to equip employees with the necessary skills that enable companies to embark on a digital transformation. Such programs can deliver great value to companies and should be optimally funded and rolled out nationwide.

So, my advice for budding leaders in the education sector would be to focus on building a lifelong learning ecosystem or be part of it and to train workers with in-demand skills so that they are ready to be placed in emerging job roles in the growth sectors.

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