Jobs centre for PMETs opens in Punggol

Punggol resident Azhar Ahmad, who has a computing degree, has been unsuccessful in his job search since he was let go from his previous position as an events consultant and manager a year ago. With the opening of the new resource centre for PMETs at
Punggol resident Azhar Ahmad, who has a computing degree, has been unsuccessful in his job search since he was let go from his previous position as an events consultant and manager a year ago. With the opening of the new resource centre for PMETs at Punggol 21 Community Club, job seekers like him can receive job matching services on site.PHOTO: AZMI ATHNI FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES

Job-seeking residents can get job-matching and career coaching services from staff on site

Mr Azhar Ahmad has been sending out 25 job applications a day since he was let go from his previous position as an events consultant and manager a year ago, but has so far faced a slew of rejections.

"Most of the responses I get are that I'm too expensive or overqualified," said the 36-year-old who has a computing degree and now does freelance events work.

He used to earn close to $3,000 a month. "I have a wife and three kids, and the events don't come every month so I need a full-time job - I'm not choosy," said Mr Azhar, the sole breadwinner.

The Punggol resident now has somewhere to turn to for help, with the opening of the first dedicated resource centre for job-seeking professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) at Punggol 21 Community Club yesterday.

It offers job matching and career coaching services through on-site staff trained by the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Workforce Singapore (WSG).

Two more centres in Aljunied and Pasir Ris will be launched by the end of the year, with another to come in Tampines by March next year.

WSG and e2i will be organising regular career networking sessions and skills upgrading workshops that will be free to attend at the centres.

The first of these were held at yesterday's launch, where job seekers attended workshops and met with employers.

The North East Community Development Council (CDC) put up $200,000 to set up the centre and keep it running for the first year, in response to a higher number of PMETs approaching job placement centres in the district for employment assistance last year. There are six job placement centres in the district, but they cater mainly to rank-and-file workers.

There are an estimated 11,000 out-of-work PMETs out of the 860,000 residents in the North East district, the CDC said.

Layoffs last year rose to the highest level since 2009, with PMETs the hardest hit, forming 72 per cent of local workers made redundant.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Manpower and North East District Mayor Teo Ser Luck said discussions on making the resource centres a national effort will follow if the results are positive.

Education Minister (Schools) and Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Ng Chee Meng said Punggol was an obvious choice for the first centre.

"Being a fast-growing new town with many young families also means there could be more PMETs who require assistance," he said.

The centre aims to reach out to about 2,000 PMET job seekers residing in the North East in a year, he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 02, 2017, with the headline 'Jobs centre for PMETs opens in Punggol'. Print Edition | Subscribe