Forum: Many benefits in job guarantee schemes

I read with great interest, associate editor Vikram Khanna’s “A pathway to (really) full employment” (March 15).

Job guarantee (JG) schemes will bring tremendous benefits to unemployed workers, society, the economy and strengthen our social compact.

The article said the JG jobs must match the skills of the unemployed and that minimal training should be required. “Duration risks” and disruptions when workers leave the JG scheme were also highlighted as some of the challenges.

Perhaps there could be two different versions of JG jobs: tactical and strategic.

Tactical JG jobs are those that require very little training and will not face disruption when workers leave the scheme upon finding a better job in the job market.

Strategic JG jobs are those that require on-the-job (OJT) training, like a work-and-train scheme. This would allow the worker to improve and be future-ready. These jobs would require a minimum duration as the Government is also “investing” in the worker and there must be some commitment. There could still be flexibility for the worker to break the contract, but with financial penalties. 

We should strive to design as many strategic JG jobs as possible. This will be far more value-adding to the worker and the economy. It will require a whole-of-government initiative to identify public sector jobs that do not currently exist and to have ready skills-training partners to work with. 

Kelvin Hong Kian Boon

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