COMPUTERS used to baffle operations support officer V. Pennarsi so much that she needed colleagues to help her apply for leave or submit medical claims - but a course changed all that.

Madam Pennarsi, 56, signed up for a year-long Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) programme in employability skills about five years ago.

Not only did she learn computer skills, she also picked up tips in customer service and problem-solving that came in handy for her job at Sembawang Secondary.

Her role involves manning the front desk in the morning and assisting lab technicians for the rest of the day.

Madam Pennarsi said she now views the parents, students and teachers she works with as customers to be taken care of.

"I have learnt what tone of voice to use and how to handle the problems they come to me with," she said.

Another perk of completing the WSQ course was the $100 cash payout she received under the Civil Service's Training Incentives Scheme.

Madam Pennarsi welcomes Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean's announcement yesterday that the incentive for Division Three and Four civil servants has doubled to $200.

"I see it as moral support by the Government to encourage people to go for training," she said.

"But what is more important is the course and the knowledge you get out of it."

She hopes to attend more customer service courses in the future as her goal is to move to a more frontline office job that will allow her do what she loves best: Interacting with students.