First batch of SAF military volunteers to be fit for duty by September

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces has started training its first military volunteers to get them fit for duty by September.

Sixty-eight people were enlisted on Tuesday, the first among 150 to be recruited into the SAF Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) this year. They comprise women, first-generation permanent residents (PRs) and new citizens - who are aged between 18 and 45, and are not liable for National Service.

Out of 900 people who signed up, 85 per cent were deemed suitable for the volunteer scheme, said SAFVC commander Mike Tan.

But the pioneer batch of 150 made the cut after clearing their medical and security screening, and aceing a 30-minute interview with a panel of militarymen over the last five months, said Colonel Tan.

Nearly half of the them are PRs while two in five are women. Slightly over half are between 30 and 40 years old and more than a tenth are over the age of 40.

Col Tan said the selection criteria goes beyond numbers. "We are more interested in making sure that people who come to us have the right motivations, have the right aptitute, attitude and lifestyle. We are making sure that the people who come to us are the ones that really want to serve."

The key attribute of a volunteer is his or her ability to work with everyone else, he added. "We want to make sure that the volunteer is able to look beyond ego to be able to work with people."

These recruits will stay in Maju Camp over the next two weeks to pick up basic military skills, before spending up to two more weeks to familiarise themselves with the duties for one of the 17 vocations that they have been assigned. After training, the newly-minted volunteers are required to serve seven days a year.