In Conversation
with Lilian Tan

Envisioning a world in which both people and the environment thrive, SATS Academy is firmly rooted in our mission to shape a sustainable workforce by helping our people and communities nurture skills for the future.

Providing a purpose-driven environment for our people to grow

  • 1.

    What do you think is fundamentally essential in transforming the workforce through upskilling?

A strong corporate culture that binds people together through a set of shared values, commitments, and purpose is important. SATS has refreshed our purpose to Feed and Connect Communities and updated our values to Passion to Delight, Safety, Innovation, Trust, and Teamwork to build a culture of passionate commitment and collaborative progress.


SATS has refreshed our purpose to Feed and Connect Communities and updated our values to Passion to Delight, Safety, Innovation, Trust, and Teamwork to build a culture of passionate commitment and collaborative progress.

We provide a purpose-driven environment for our people to grow. Applying their skills, ideas and ingenuity to serve our customers, our people are instrumental in fulfilling our purpose to Feed and Connect Communities and our promise to deliver heartfelt innovations to our customers and the communities we serve.

A strong corporate culture will attract the right people to join the company and provide our large workforce of 13,0001 employees, operating in multiple locations across the region, a cohesive and uplifting company culture that empowers them to learn and develop in a safe, nurturing and inclusive work environment.

We are proud that SATS was recognised by Straits Times as one of Singapore’s Best Employers 2021, out of more than 1,700 companies, and we have a high employee engagement score of 81%.

  • Employee engagement score of


  • 2.

    With the keen competition for talent, how do you grow your talent pool?

As part of our talent development plan, we partner with institutes of higher learning to offer work-study programmes to employees who meet the enrolment criteria. These courses allow participants to undergo structured on-the-job training and mentorship whilst completing their studies, providing them with opportunities for professional growth.


SATS remains focused on advocating a growth mindset among our people and supporting a culture of lifelong learning. Our employees are encouraged to participate in programmes such as innovative learning campaigns, lunchtime talks, senior management sharing sessions, and internal engagement platforms such as Global Connection 2020, which was held across 10 satellite locations worldwide.

Programmes to encourage employees to continually upgrade their skills to stay future-ready enabled SATS to accelerate its transformation when the pandemic started. In 2020, through SATS Academy and with support from SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), SATS successfully executed its largest workforce transformation effort to date. We trained 11,154 workers from the air transport sector under the SkillsFutureSG Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP) and 4,000 SATS employees were reskilled, multiskilled and redeployed under WSG’s Place and Train and Professional Conversion Programmes.

  • 11,154

    workers from the air transport sector have been reskilled and multiskilled.
  • Each user spent an average of 24 hours 16 mins on the platform


    27X more usage compared to global benchmark of 54 mins per user per month.

  • Course completion rate


    7X higher than global benchmarks.

  • Video completion rate


    a near perfect video completion rate that is higher than global benchmarks of 80-90%.

With restrictions placed on in-person interactions, the COVID-19 pandemic catalysed an organisation-wide shift towards a new learning environment centred around digital and online platforms. SATS Academy pivoted towards offering virtual training courses and programmes that helped employees develop new competencies and stay relevant. In FY2020-21, led by SATS Academy and our overseas businesses, we accelerated our training efforts and focused on building a stronger, more competent workforce, accumulating 3.8 million learning hours across the Group.

Notably, SATS was commended by LinkedIn Learning for achieving higher user and completion rates against global benchmarks2.

  • 3.

    You also lead SATS’ participation in corporate social responsibility projects. What are the programmes SATS has in place to achieve the goal of touching a million lives in 2030?

SATS strongly believes in giving back to the communities we serve. Tapping on our culinary expertise, service excellence and technical skill sets, we dedicate ourselves and our resources towards helping our communities grow and flourish. This includes efforts to provide opportunities to the younger generation to prepare for the future as well as supporting meaningful causes. In FY2020-21, we touched a total of 151,471 lives.

We work towards achieving our goals through different channels such as the SATS Foundation, the philanthropic arm of SATS. SATS Foundation supports many community programmes and initiatives, especially those that empower the younger generation with the means to pursue further education are the focus of the Foundation. In addition to providing financial assistance to the children of our employees and union members, we channel our expertise and resources towards providing industry attachments as part of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training programmes offered by local institutions.

  • In FY2020-21, we touched



This year, due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, social activities such as art and cultural performances were halted. Volunteer engagement and outreach activities were also affected. To bring cheer to the elderly in this time of crisis, SATS Foundation worked with TENG Ensemble’s Digital Concert to bring the joy of live music performances to underserved communities, so as to help them overcome feelings of isolation. The programme was viewed by 500 seniors from various eldercare homes across Singapore.

As a people-led business, we endeavour to secure a more sustainable future for all by extending our resources, networks and operational expertise to support those who are in need today through incorporating corporate citizenship into our operations.

In this ongoing pandemic, SATS stepped up our community efforts to assist in relief efforts across various cities.

In Malaysia, SATS subsidiary GTR partnered AirAsia to carry out project IKHLAS for Sabah. Aimed at supporting families whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project included door-to-door visits to distribute daily necessities as well as personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitisers. In India, AISATS has shipped over 45,000 tonnes of medical supplies to remote parts of India through the Lifeline Udaan flights.

Spurred by the need to bring nutritious meals to those who need it most, SATS subsidiary Monty’s Bakehouse launched The Community Kitchen Project, an online meal delivery service that supplies high-quality, nourishing and delicious meals to customers who needed assistance. The Community Kitchen Project served close to 4,700 meals to members of local communities. With the shortage of manpower worsened by the lockdown in Maldives, our Maldives Inflight Catering (MIC) has been working closely with the National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Gender and Red Crescent of Maldives in supporting the local community with a meaningful cause by providing 350 meals a day to the homeless and orphanages in Maldives. Similarly, TajSATS’ flight kitchens have supported corporations such as World Central Kitchen, Deutsche Bank, and Taj Public Welfare Trust to supply over two million meals to healthcare workers in hospitals and stranded migrant communities in Bangalore, Mumbai, and New Delhi during the nation’s COVID-19 lockdown.

In addition to these channels, we also encourage our employees to support and participate in meaningful causes that go beyond geographical boundaries. This year, in place of our annual Charity Run, SATS produced our first global virtual SATS Giving Run, a community event that aimed to engage our employees in our mission to do good. With every kilometre walked or run by SATS employees, a donation was made to AWWA3 Singapore’s Legacy of Love and Build A School charity campaigns. 141 SATS employees across Singapore, Vietnam and the UK accumulated a total of 4,000 km. As part of Singapore Giving Week, we also held our first hybrid ZOOMBA (Zumba via ZOOM) wellness volunteering session in collaboration with AWWA’s Special Student Care Centre.

  • 1This refers to SATS’ average headcount in FY2020-21.

  • 2Global benchmarks are based on the first 30 days of usage by LinkedIn’s global enterprise clients.

  • 3AWWA, or the Asian Women’s Welfare Association, is a social service agency that delivers programmes, services and social assistance to disadvantaged groups in society.