SINGAPORE - The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package is being revved up to support the hiring of 200,000 locals and provide up to 35,000 traineeship and training opportunities this year.
The initiative - launched last year to tackle the anticipated labour market fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic - is a key pillar in the country's industry transformation.
Almost 76,000 individuals had been placed into jobs, traineeships, attachments and skills training as at the end of last year.
The Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI), which encourages companies to bring forward recruitment through wage subsidies, led to the hiring of an estimated 110,000 local job seekers within two months of the scheme's implementation.
"Looking ahead, as companies and industries transform, and new growth areas emerge, our people will need to have the skills and agility to move. To emerge stronger, our people will need new knowledge and skills," said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
An additional $5.4 billion will be allocated to a second tranche of the Jobs and Skills Package on top of the $3 billion allocated last year.
The bulk of this - $5.2 billion - will be allocated to JGI to extend the hiring window by seven months, to Sept 30.
The extension will give firms hiring eligible locals up to 12 months of wage support from the month of hire, while those taking on mature workers, people with disabilities and former offenders will be given up to 18 months of enhanced wage support.
Mr Heng said support for the SGUnited Skills, SGUnited Traineeships and the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programmes will be extended for workers who require additional help before landing a job.
He also announced that the National Research Foundation will be supporting about 500 fellowships under the new Innovation and Enterprise Fellowship Programme over the next five years to meet needs in areas such as cyber security, artificial intelligence and health tech.
It will work with a range of partners, including accelerators, venture capital firms and deep-tech start-ups.
The minister said: "As we head into a more technologically intensive and innovation-driven economy, we must also groom leaders in innovation and enterprise, especially in deep technology areas."
Mr Heng noted the importance of skilled human capital in Singapore's next phase of transformation: "Enabling our people to have access to good jobs and job opportunities is the purpose for developing a strong economy. A vibrant economy creates the jobs and opportunities for our people to be at their best."
He said the employment landscape is changing, pointing out that a digital, innovation-driven economy means that businesses will need highly skilled workers and deep talent.
Singaporeans therefore will need to have both broader and deeper skills and creativity.
Mr Heng also noted that pandemic has forced people to work from home and adopt new ways of collaborating with others.
But he urged Singaporeans not to be fearful, adding: "There are many strengths in Singapore that will enable us to create good jobs here. But to access these, we have to learn and adapt."
Components of SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to be updated
Jobs Growth Incentive
• Supports employers to accelerate hiring local workers between September last year and September this year
• Up to 12 months of wage support from the month of hiring for eligible locals, and up to 18 months for mature workers (aged 40 and above), persons with disabilities, and former offenders
• Extended until March 31 next year
• Starting April 1, the stipend for Institute of Technical Education and diploma traineeship positions will be increased from $1,100-$1,500 to $1,600-$1,800, and from $1,300-$1,800 to $1,700-$2,100, respectively
• Maximum duration of each traineeship will be reduced from nine to six months from April 1
SGUnited Mid-career Pathways Programme
• Company attachment:
- Extended until March 31 next year
- Maximum training allowance for mature trainees will be increased to up to $3,800 a month
- Minimum training allowance for non-mature trainees will be increased to $1,600 a month
- Maximum training duration of each company attachment will be reduced from nine to six months from April 1
• Company training:
- Extended until March 31 next year
- Courses will be made more compact from April 1, with a duration of up to six months in general
•Extended until March 31 next year
•Courses will be made more compact from April 1, with a duration of up to six months in general
Source: Ministry of Finance