Forum: Train security officers, cleaners, gardeners in complementary skills

A man from a landscaping company trimming some plants.
A man from a landscaping company trimming some plants.PHOTO: ST FILE

I agree with Mr Foo Kwang Sai that requiring workers to perform a combination of cleaning, gardening and security duties under the job-clustering project is rather exhausting, especially for older workers (Study impact of job clustering on older workers, Nov 27).

Instead of making them do multiple jobs, a better way to increase their productivity and improve their prospects is to introduce new skills that complement their current duties.

For example, security officers could volunteer to be sent for training and certification in simple electrical work, such as changing light bulbs, or plumbing work, like replacing the burst flexible hose of a wash basin.

Likewise, gardeners and grass-cutters could be trained to spot and eradicate potential mosquito-breeding areas.

Cleaners in HDB estates, schools and shopping malls could be trained to look out for suspicious characters and parcels, and to alert the relevant authorities.

Such training and job enrichment would improve the workers' skill sets and earning power.

In addition, these workers could undergo further training and certification so that security officers can one day become electricians and plumbers, while gardeners and grass-cutters can become pest control technicians, and cleaners, security guards.

Ng Chee Kheon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2019, with the headline 'Train security officers, cleaners, gardeners in complementary skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe