An extra $14 million per year has been set aside for two years to help professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who want to start new careers in sectors such as retail, food services and events, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said yesterday.
This means a total of $40 million per year, up from $26 million previously, will be available to fund course fees and salary support through Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) from now until mid-2018.
Mr Lim said the PCP initiative will be "critical" in minimising the gap between job opportunities and workers' existing skills, which will grow as economic restructuring picks up pace.
"A growing number of PMETs will find that their job experience and their job expertise in some cases may no longer be directly relevant to the job opportunities of the future," he said, speaking to media at a career fair at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.
"More and more of them will have to learn new skills and start a new career in areas they may not be familiar with."
PMETs tend to make up a higher share of laid-off workers than their share of the resident workforce, according to Manpower Ministry data. The average PMET also takes longer than the average resident to get back into a job after being laid off.
Four new PCPs were launched yesterday by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to provide job placement and skills training support for up to 80 retail store managers, assistant chefs, restaurant managers, project executives and assistant project managers each year. Information about applying for the programmes can be found on the WDA website.
The additions bring the total number of PCPs to 31 across 14 sectors. By 2018, there will be programmes in 20 sectors, as part of the Adapt and Grow initiative announced in this year's Budget.
The WDA said it aims to help a total of 10,000 Singaporeans and permanent resident PMETs by then, up from the 7,000 already placed through PCPs so far. More programmes in sectors such as aerospace and public transport will be rolled out over the next few months.
Some 25 industries, which contribute around 80 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product, are being transformed, and both employers and employees must adapt, said Mr Lim.
Yesterday's career fair was part of the first Adapt and Grow Career Series of fairs and workshops running this month with 3,000 jobs for Singaporeans and PRs, 1,200 of which are for PMET positions. The series will be held quarterly.
Several employers at the fair who are offering roles under the new PCPs said they would consider moving staff up to managerial positions if they performed well in the entry-level role they are initially hired for.
"After three months, we will evaluate and if they are very interested in other aspects of the business such as outlet management, we will look at opportunities for them," said Mr Wong Wei Teck, 59, managing director of Soup Restaurant Group, who was on the lookout for operations staff such as assistant chefs.