SINGAPORE - Four sectors badly affected by the coronavirus outbreak will get more support in terms of skills training and redeployment for their workers.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) is beefing up its reskilling programmes for workers in the tourism, aviation, retail and food services sectors, with enhancements ranging from extending the salary support period to making them available to more employees.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said reskilling efforts are critical during an economic lull because "to employers, it makes very little sense to keep their workers unless there is something useful for workers to do".
That is why the support measures by WSG are focused on the reskilling and redeploying of workers, she said on Tuesday during a visit to ST Logistics in Tuas.
The latest enhancements are targeted at WSG's Place-and-Train programmes, which are meant to encourage employers to reskill their rank-and-file workers to take on new job roles.
Previously, WSG provided employers with salary support of up to 70 per cent, capped at $2,000 monthly per worker, for up to three months.
Salary support will now be extended to up to six months. In addition, for citizens above the age of 40 or who have been unemployed for six months or more, salary support will be raised to up to 90 per cent, capped at $3,000 a month per employee.
The changes apply to the existing Place-and-Train programmes for the hotel and retail industries, as well as to a similar programme for air transport coordinators that was announced on March 2.
A new Place-and-Train programme will also be rolled out for the food services industry, with the same enhanced terms, said WSG.
The enhancements take immediate effect, except for the Place-and-Train programme involving air transport coordinators, which kicks in on April 1.
WSG will also increase the capacity for the Place-and-Train programmes for the hotel industry and for digital marketing.
It also announced a new Professional Conversion Programme for the furniture industry that is geared towards helping mid-career professionals, managers executives and technicians take up digital roles in the sector.
The six-month programme, which comprises on-the-job and classroom training, will equip participants with skills relevant to job roles in areas such as e-commerce campaign management, social media marketing and data analytics.
Participating companies will get enhanced salary support of up to 90 per cent, capped at $6,000 a month for each employee. WSG will also provide funding for courses attended by participants. As furniture businesses are a subset of the retail industry, it is also considered to be affected by Covid-19.
All coronavirus-related support measures by WSG will be funded by the $4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package announced during Budget 2020.
Said Mr Tan Choon Shian, chief executive of WSG: "By helping empoyers defray a bulk of the costs for training with salary support, workers in participating companies can look forward to being reskilled into enhanced job roles to better support businesses for economic recovery."
WSG expects more than 2,000 workers to benefit from its programmes and support measures for sectors directly affected by Covid-19.