WDA programmes to give more job and training guidance for workers

More career coaches and quality training providers to help them move up ladder

Workers will get more help in choosing jobs and charting their careers through a range of programmes by national training body Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

There will be more career coaches, a new online portal with job information as well as quality training providers to help them move up in their careers, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

Some of these moves will start as early as secondary school to help prepare Singaporeans for the future needs of the economy.

"Even when you're in secondary school, it's good to have a vague idea of what your strengths are, what your aptitudes are, what you might be interested in," he said.

"Not choosing a course based on what your A-level scores qualify you for, what your GPAs (grade point averages) qualify you for - choosing a course based on your interest, what you feel you will be interested enough to keep learning, to keep progressing on, and to apply yourself with passion in."

WDA chief executive Ng Cher Pong said the aim is to get individuals to "take responsibility and ownership for their own career and skills planning".

To do this, a one-stop job and training portal will be launched.

This website will provide information on jobs and advice on how workers can progress in their careers with training. Workers will get a better idea of their strengths and interests through self-profiling tests and games at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

More career coaches will be hired to ensure that workers get career guidance and advice on training. There will also be more online courses rolled out so that workers can learn at their own pace while juggling their work duties.

WDA will work with employers to roll out structured on-the-job training programmes for workers. Firms will be asked to develop standardised benchmarks for workers' skills. This will help guide workers in upgrading skills and charting their career paths.

WDA will determine if workers meet these benchmarks through "application-based and outcomes- driven" tests, said Mr Ng.

Mr Gilbert Tan, chief executive of the National Trades Union Congress' training arm e2i, agreed that training workers to pick up skills needed by the industry will convince bosses to give them time to go for courses.

"Training should be conducive ... to business operations, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises," he said.

ameltan@sph.com.sg

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