Sufficient support for older workers pursuing new careers, uni education

A group of elderly men sitting outside Raffles Place MRT Station.
A group of elderly men sitting outside Raffles Place MRT Station.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Ms Poh Boong See for her letter (Support older workers who want to pursue uni studies, May 31).

Under the Adapt and Grow initiative, the professional conversion programmes (PCPs) help mid-career professionals undergo skills conversion and move into occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression.

In addition, Workforce Singapore (WSG) is working closely with sector agencies to help place locals in growth sectors such as manufacturing and professional services, infocomm and media, wholesale trade, healthcare, finance and insurance and built environment.

To encourage employers to consider workers aged 40 and above, the Government provides enhanced funding rates for PCPs with salary support of up to 90 per cent of monthly salary and up to 90 per cent funding in course fee subsidies.

Since August last year, mature workers have comprised about 40 per cent of those placed through PCPs and other efforts in the six growth sectors.

Besides the PCPs, older working adults who seek degree qualifications can apply to the autonomous universities for admission into part-time and full-time undergraduate programmes.

In particular, part-time undergraduate programmes primarily cater to working adults.

In addition, the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education also offer a diverse range of courses to meet the workforce's upskilling and reskilling needs.

Ms Poh also mentioned allied health professions. WSG and the Ministry of Health have worked with the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) to develop and run allied health PCPs.

Applicants for the allied health PCPs are required to meet the entry requirements set by SIT, as well as pass a selection process to assess their job fit and ability to cope with the training rigour. Age is not a consideration in the selection process. SIT also considers mid-career individuals who have relevant working experience but are unable to meet their minimum academic requirements.

From September this year, an accelerated PCP for physiotherapists will also be introduced as a dedicated pathway for mid-career switchers.

Janice Foo

Director, Healthcare, Social and Business Services Division

Workforce Singapore

Lavinia Low

Director, Manpower Planning & Strategy Division

Ministry of Health

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 13, 2019, with the headline 'Sufficient support for older workers pursuing new careers, uni education'. Print Edition | Subscribe