Local workers on low wages tend to shun training courses but the ones who do sign up often benefit from pay rises, according to new research.

It found that participation in structured training raised the wages of such employees by 3.1 per cent on average - an increase that is in addition to normal yearly increments.

A Ministry of Trade and Industry survey tracked 6,000 low-wage Singaporean workers from 2007 to 2009.

Respondents, who included cleaners, labourers, technicians and machine operators, were asked to indicate whether they received any structured training each year.

The data showed that training participation rates for this group ranged from just 9.5 per cent to 18 per cent over three years. In contrast, an annual government survey reports a participation rate of about 30 per cent across the entire labour force.

Findings of the study were released yesterday alongside quarterly economic data. It also found that unionised workers are 12 per cent more likely to participate in training than non-unionised staff.

Mr Gary Haris, senior business development manager at KH Security Agency, said the firm sends staff for regular training as part of the Workforce Skills Qualifications framework under the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

After training, employees get pay increments in line with their productivity and skill level, said Mr Haris. "Our industry is tied to training, and our staff need to keep abreast of technology and the latest trends," he added.