SINGAPORE - Amid the economic doom and gloom, the healthcare sector could create much needed opportunities, with thousands of job and training positions in the works for a wide spectrum of people, even if some do not have healthcare experience.
There will be about 7,500 jobs and 1,600 traineeships, attachments and skills training opportunities created from now until the end of next year, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday (Aug 25).
Most of these positions are suitable for fresh graduates entering the workforce and mid-career job seekers - with or without a background in healthcare.
"These vacancies and opportunities will help to fulfil current and future expanding needs for healthcare services, given Singapore's ageing population," said the ministry.
Covid-19 has taken a toll on the jobs market, with lower-wage and mature workers, and many mid-career Singaporeans, hit hard.
The Government, on its part, is supporting businesses with cash flow and credit so they can stay afloat and retain their workers. The National Jobs Council is also working with the Government, employers and unions to create new jobs and skills upgrading opportunities for Singaporeans, and overseeing the design and implementation of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package to create 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training places.
The new job and training opportunities in healthcare will help to boost employment if there is an overwhelming response to working in the sector, said CIMB Private Banking economist Song Seng Wun.
"The healthcare sector will always need people in all hiring positions, across all areas," he told The Straits Times.
"Perhaps this recession will induce some who are sitting on the fence and without other job options to consider healthcare and allied industries. Much will depend on how receptive we are to working in the sector."
Of the 7,500 job opportunities in healthcare, about one-third are for healthcare professionals, including nurses and allied health professionals.
These vacancies are mainly for fresh graduates from healthcare training programmes, as well as graduates of professional conversion programmes (PCP) targeted at mid-career entrants into the sector.
The sector currently has about 200 nursing and allied health PCP training places available each year, and it will be adding at least another 100 new places next year.
The remaining two-thirds of vacancies are for various positions, including support care, administrative and ancillary roles, which will be suitable for fresh graduates and mid-career job seekers from non-healthcare backgrounds, said MOH.
These are available across the public healthcare and community care sectors. They include service management positions, such as patient service associates, and "blended" job roles that support non-clinical care or administrative operations. There are also managerial and executive roles available for job seekers who might have relevant administrative experience or training outside the healthcare sector - for example, in financial management, accounting, human resources, or digitalisation of business processes.
Training will be provided for them, added the ministry.
Meanwhile, traineeships, attachments and skills training opportunities will be provided under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package - a $2 billion jobs and training package that aims to create close to 100,000 opportunities for workers affected by the economic slowdown caused by Covid-19.
The 1,600 healthcare sector traineeship, attachments and skills training opportunities will help people to acquire relevant working experience and skills needed in the sector. Employers and trainees will receive funding support during the traineeship, attachment or skills training period, said MOH.
These opportunities will be provided by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and SkillsFuture Singapore, together with healthcare and community care providers in the public and private sectors, training institutions and the healthcare union.
Fresh or recent graduates hoping to take up traineeships or attachments in the healthcare sector can tap opportunities under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. Mid-career individuals can apply for attachments under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme.
The traineeships and attachments last between four and nine months, and are available for various roles, including patient service associates, dental surgery assistants and other administrative and ancillary positions.
"Employers can consider hiring well-performing trainees and mid-career individuals at any time during or after the completion of the traineeship or attachment," said the MOH.
For skills training, mid-career job seekers can tap the SGUnited Skills programme to apply for skills training in healthcare positions, such as support staff and executives in clinical and non-clinical roles.
Skills training lasts between six and 12 months for various job roles, which include healthcare assistants, therapy assistants, community care coordinators, pharmacy technicians, and health managers and administrators.
More than 1,300 training opportunities will be offered by seven training partners, with classes starting progressively from this month.
The seven training providers are the HMI Institute of Health Sciences, Institute of Technical Education, NTUC Learning Hub, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Social Sciences, and Temasek Polytechnic.
The job vacancies and opportunities will be made available progressively over this year and next. Job seekers can apply for them through WSG's MyCareersFuture job portal, and various job fairs and recruitment platforms.