This article is contributed by Low Choon Chye, NTUC LearningHub Co-operative.

mou aupe ntuc learninghub collaboration 2

 

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
- Helen Keller

In today’s context, collaboration is key in most of the things that we do. No matter where we are and what we do, there will be areas for us to collaborate and forge ahead. Back in my University days, I remember a cheer that goes like this: “When one person does it, he/she looks like a fool, and when everybody does it, we look so cool,” and this simple cheer highlighted the importance of collaborating, synergising and bringing the best out of everybody. Bigger companies collaborate as well. Key examples include the collaboration between Go-Pro & Red Bull, Uber & Spotify, and Apple & Mastercard.

In the Co-operative Movement, collaboration is also essential as one of the Co-operative principles is Co-operation. With that principle in mind, the key question that we should ask ourselves is, “How can we collaborate?”. On this note, I would like to share the collaboration between AUPE Credit Co-operative and NTUC LearningHub Co-operative to highlighted the five golden steps of collaboration.

Step 1: Identify Areas of Need

At NTUC LearningHub Co-operative, we offer workplace safety courses to equip trainees with the relevant skills and knowledge to help them to be proficient in their job.  WSQ Certificate in Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) [Level A] and WSQ Advanced Certificate in WSH [Level B] qualifications are two of our key workplace safety courses where trainees will go through a set of modules to upskill themselves for a WSH career pathway. The enrolment rate for foreign workers is low for both WSH Level A and B, prompting us to conduct a market analysis. The results showed that foreign workers deem the course fee as high. NTUC LearningHub Co-operative identified a need to make training affordable for foreign workers.


Step 2:
Identify Partners to Collaborate

As a WSQ Approved Training Organisation (ATO) that focuses on transforming employability of workers, NTUC LearningHub Co-operative started to explore collaboration with credit co-operatives. AUPE Credit Co-operative was one of the credit co-operatives that we are very keen to work with.


Step 3:
Think Win-Win 

Collaboration will only work if a win-win outcome is achieved for both parties. Hence, it is very important to take a step back and think how you can value add to the partner you are intending to collaborate with. For the collaboration between AUPE Credit Co-operative and NTUC LearningHub Co-operative to succeed, achieving a win-win outcome for both parties was of paramount importance. NTUC LearningHub Co-operative would like to provide loans to trainees while AUPE Credit Co-operative, to increase in union membership and help their members. This was the foundation where we built upon for the collaboration to work and materialise.


Step 4:
Communicate + Compromise – Remove Obstacles Along the Way

In any collaboration, there will always be obstacles. The key is to treat obstacles as opportunities for parties to build trust and capabilities, and to congregate together to tackle and solve the pressing issues. We faced a few stumbling blocks in the collaboration between AUPE Credit Co-operative and NTUC LearningHub Co-operatives. However, both parties were very focused and determined to make the collaboration a success. We came together to discuss and tackle issues that cropped up along the way. These are the key ingredients towards a successful collaboration.


Step 5:
Iterate, Innovate and synergise

There is no perfect model or a one-size that can fix all when comes to collaboration. Thus, there is a need to constantly iterate, innovate and synergise the way we collaborate. This is exceptionally important in operations, business models and how we react to the constant changes in the environment around us. Change is the only constant. If the collaboration does work out, we need to think how to make it better by asking questions such as can we scale it up, or can we collaborate on other areas and so forth.

 


 

To conclude, the five golden steps of collaboration are key to a successful collaboration. As an individual, I am inspired by the possibilities of collaboration between NTUC LearningHub Co-operative and other partners. At the company level, collaboration brings about economies of scale where companies tap onto partners’ expertise to grow at an exponential rate. Moving forward, more collaboration should be forged within the co-operative ecosystem so that together as co-operatives we can “Do Well, Do Good”.


mou aupe ntuc learninghub collaboration 1

On 1 April 2019, NTUC LearningHub Co-operative and AUPE Credit Co-operative signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) where AUPE Credit Co-operative will offer loan facilities to foreign workers taking WSQ Certificate in WSH Level A and Level B courses at the NTUC LearningHub Co-operative.