Early training for jobs in growth sectors

Workers can prepare themselves in new Attach and Train scheme

Workers keen to move into sunrise sectors, like digital technology, can go for training and work attachments under a new initiative that will boost their chances of getting jobs.

Even if companies in these industries with good growth potential are not hiring, workers can turn to the new "Attach and Train" scheme to get themselves ready.

This latest initiative is part of government efforts to help people adjust to the changing economy, especially those workers who want to move to a new sector, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Details of the scheme will be disclosed later.

Enhancements were also announced to several programmes for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), as well as rank-and-file job seekers.

  • $100m

  • To develop skills in people and help them learn about innovation

The changes are to meet the challenges in the labour market .

While the unemployment rate stayed low last year, redundancies are rising and more workers are taking longer to find jobs.

The Career Support Programme - which encourages employers to hire mature and retrenched or long-term jobless Singaporean PMETs for mid-level jobs - will be improved for more small businesses to qualify.

Professional conversion programmes will be enhanced to help more PMETs get the skills to make a career switch.

The Work Trial programme, which offers attachments for rank-and-file workers and prospective employers to try out arrangements, will have longer trial periods.

The change is to help long-term unemployed people and those with disabilities especially, as they may need more time to settle down in new jobs.

More retention bonuses and wage support will be given as well, when employers hire people who had been jobless for more than 12 months under the programme.

These schemes will receive up to $26 million more a year from the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund and the Skills Development Fund. The improvements build on the Adapt and Grow initiative announced last year, which rolled out more professional conversion programmes and expanded the Career Support Programme to cover more jobless Singaporeans.

Efforts to help workers upgrade their skills continue.


More modular courses, especially those using e-learning, will be offered to make training more accessible. This was among the recommendations made recently by the Committee on the Future Economy.

Singaporeans can receive funding support for approved courses under SkillsFuture, and union members can also get subsidies for certain courses through the National Trades Union Congress Education and Training Fund.

"As our companies innovate and digitalise, we will also help our people acquire and use deep skills," said Mr Heng, adding that this builds on the SkillsFuture movement for lifelong learning.

To help match skilled workers to suitable jobs, the national Jobs Bank will be improved to make it more useful. The Government will also work with private placement firms to deliver better services for professionals.

Mr Heng also encouraged employers, unions and trade associations and chambers of commerce to develop more structured training programmes for workers, like those offered by the Singapore Hotel and Tourism Education Centre set up by the Singapore Hotel Association.

Funding support is available for this from statutory board SkillsFuture Singapore.

Labour MP Patrick Tay, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, supports the new measures, saying the new Attach and Train programme could link workers with start-ups, new companies and small and medium-sized enterprises which may not have the capacity to hire yet.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Early training for jobs in growth sectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe