Moves to boost support for new grads, older workers

Career-starter scheme to be launched amid moves to expand flexible work arrangements

A new career-starter programme will be launched to help fresh graduates do better at job hunting.

In announcing the initiative yesterday, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Low Yen Ling said more details will be given later.

Essentially, the programme will offer training workshops on job hunting, industry engagement opportunities, job referrals, post-placement support, as well as virtual and physical career fairs.

"In a fast-paced and changing world, (new graduates) need to be well-armed with information and knowledge to navigate upcoming trends and future-proof themselves for what is ahead," she said.

Workforce Singapore will partner universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education for the programme.

Ms Low also said that as of May 5, companies seeking a government mark that shows they offer flexible work arrangements can apply for it through the Jobs Bank portal.

Previously, they could apply for the Tripartite Standards on Flexible Work Arrangements only through the website of Tafep, or the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices.

GETTING A HEAD START

In a fast-paced and changing world, (new graduates) need to be well-armed with information and knowledge to navigate upcoming trends and future-proof themselves for what is ahead.

SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION, AND TRADE AND INDUSTRY LOW YEN LING

She noted that with the right support, women could fulfil both their family and career aspirations.

Ms Low pointed out that Singapore's part-time employment rate for women lags behind those of developed OECD nations.

Singapore wants to narrow the gap by enabling women particularly to have flexible work hours.

She also said companies that offer such arrangements do better in attracting and retaining the best talents.

Similarly, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said her ministry has piloted flexible working arrangements for some nurses.

To spread such working arrangements among more public healthcare institutions, electronic rostering will be progressively introduced from the second half of this year.

It will enable nurse managers to deal with complex shift rostering.

"Adopting flexible work arrangements will help us better cater to the needs of our healthcare workforce at different life stages," said Dr Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources.

Such a move will retain more people in the workforce, especially women and older workers, "for a win-win", she added.

Both Dr Khor and Ms Low outlined their ministries' efforts to help older workers overcome obstacles owing to their age.

Dr Khor also voiced her support for a new tripartite committee mooted by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ng Chee Meng on Tuesday.

The proposed committee will look at ways to fulfil the wish of seniors who want to continue working.Since 2012, more than 98 per cent of private-sector employees have been offered re-employment on turning 62, said Ms Low.

"The vast majority of those who accepted re-employment in the same job did not experience any cut in basic wages," she added.


Correction note: An earlier version of this story referred to Ms Low Yen Ling as the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, and Trade and Industry. She is the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2018, with the headline 'Moves to boost support for new grads, older workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe