Govt to pump in an extra $14m a year to help PMETs start new careers

Shoppers and pedestrians walk past the 313@Somerset mall.
Shoppers and pedestrians walk past the 313@Somerset mall. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - An extra $14 million per year has been set aside for two years to help professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who want to start new careers in sectors such as retail, food services and events, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Tuesday (June 14).

This means a total of $40 million per year, up from $26 million previously, will be available to fund course fees and salary support through Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) from this month until June 2018.

Mr Lim said the PCP initiative will be critical in minimising the mismatch between job opportunities and workers' existing skills, which will grow as restructuring continues to pick up pace.

"A growing number of PMETs will find that their job experience and their job expertise in some cases may no longer be directly relevant to the job opportunities of the future. More and more of them will have to learn new skills and start a new career in areas they may not be familiar with," he said.

Some 25 industries making up around 80 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product are being transformed, and both employers and employees must adapt, said Mr Lim, speaking to the media on the sidelines of a career fair at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

"Many of them (employers at the fair) said they are prepared to take in people with or without direct relevant experience, but what they're looking for is attitude. They believe that as long as job seekers have the right attitude and are willing to adapt they have the potential to become an asset," he said, adding that job seekers too need to have courage to try out new opportunities.

Four new PCPs were launched on Tuesday by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to provide job placement and skills training support for up to 80 retail store managers, assistant chefs, restaurant managers, project executives and assistant project managers each year.

This brings the total number of PCPs to 31 across 14 sectors. By 2018, there will be programmes in 20 sectors, as part of the Adapt and Grow initiative announced in this year's Budget.

WDA said it aims to help a total of 10,000 Singaporeans and permanent residents by then, up from the 7,000 already placed through PCPs so far. More programmes in sectors such as aerospace and public transport are in the works.

Tuesday's career fair is part of the first Adapt and Grow Career Series of fairs and workshops running this month to offer 3,000 jobs for Singaporeans and permanent residents, 1,200 of which are PMET positions. The series will be held quarterly.

More information can be found at www.wda.gov.sg/adaptandgrow.