Though the Government has opened up more university places and encourages older workers to constantly learn new things so as to remain competitive, the bulk of these places still go to young polytechnic graduates and A-level holders.
The Government claims that the support structure for reskilling workers is there and that it is up to individuals to make the most of it. Singaporeans just need the resolve to take up the schemes, to switch jobs or to move to a different industry while learning and unlearning things all their lives.
But is sufficient funding being allocated to professional conversion programmes (PCPs) for allied health professions to draw enough older mid-career professionals to pursue full-time studies at local universities to obtain the necessary knowledge and competency?
Or are the PCPs mainly targeting younger working adults who have longer working life expectancy?
Since last year, working adults have been able to apply to five polytechnics for full-time studies under a new scheme that gives more weight to their work experience, even if they do not meet the cut-off in terms of academic points.
Similar to this, can local universities set aside places to admit older working adults, and give them the chance to undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression?
Poh Boong See