More work support for older PMETs

Office workers walk through the central business district during lunch break in Singapore on Aug 5, 2010.
Office workers walk through the central business district during lunch break in Singapore on Aug 5, 2010.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

We thank Mr Yeow Hwee Ming for his feedback ("Give older PMETs jobs, then train them"; last Friday), which highlights a "place-and-train" approach to helping older professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) find employment.

We agree with Mr Yeow that it is important to help older PMET jobseekers be placed in jobs with companies that are hiring and to provide them the relevant training support, especially as our economy undergoes restructuring.

This is, in fact, the approach taken for the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs), where the Government provides wage support and training subsidies to companies which first hire and then train eligible mid-career PMETs to take on new positions.

We raised the level of support in 2014 for PMETs aged 40 and above or unemployed for more than six months.

Mr Yeow may be pleased to know that we are investing more in PCPs and have set aside $40 million a year, up from $26 million, for the next two years.

This will help broaden the coverage of PCPs from 10 to more than 20 sectors.

New PCPs will be offered in sectors such as logistics, energy management, wholesale international trading and hotels.

Regarding Mr Yeow's suggestion that older PMETs be trained to perform X-rays and scans, he may be interested to know that there are currently five healthcare PCPs that aim to place and train mid-career PMETs in various healthcare professions, including diagnostic radiographers.

Besides offering PCPs, the Ministry of Manpower has also strengthened employment support for PMETs through the Career Support Programme and P-Max.

The Career Support Programme was recently enhanced to provide wage support for up to one year to employers who hire PMETs aged below 40 who are made redundant and unemployed for six months or more; and PMETs aged 40 and above who are made redundant, or who are unemployed for six months or more.

More PMETs can also be matched with small and medium-sized enterprises through P-Max.

Taken together, these programmes under the Adapt and Grow initiative will offer opportunities for older PMETs to find employment and be equipped with the relevant skills.

We encourage individuals to visit the Singapore Workforce Development Agency's website for more information.

Tan Pei-En
Workforce Planning Department
Ministry of Manpower

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2016, with the headline 'More work support for older PMETs'. Print Edition | Subscribe