IBM, Shopee among firms to offer training for mid-career job seekers

First batch of courses by firms in in-demand sectors starts in Aug; trainees to get monthly allowance

Mr Alex Ng (centre), who was retrenched from his IT sales role at a multinational corporation about a month ago, at a jobs and skills event at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos yesterday. The 47-year-old said he was eyeing courses by Google an
Mr Alex Ng (centre), who was retrenched from his IT sales role at a multinational corporation about a month ago, at a jobs and skills event at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos yesterday. The 47-year-old said he was eyeing courses by Google and other firms in the information and communications technology industry. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

Mid-career job seekers can now apply for training courses offered by firms in in-demand sectors to help boost their employability.

They will receive a monthly allowance of $1,500 while undergoing the courses.

IBM, Shopee and PBA Robotics are among the companies that will be kicking off the first batch of courses next month, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat told the media yesterday.

These courses are one of two components of the earlier announced SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme, which will provide 14,500 traineeships and training programmes for job seekers to gain industry-relevant work experience while awaiting permanent employment.

Mr Chee said that while more business closures and retrenchments are expected due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are also sectors that are expected to grow, such as healthcare and e-commerce.

"While we cannot save every company, we have to help every worker to transit to these new jobs. Some of them may require training to bridge the skills gap," Mr Chee told reporters during a visit to a jobs and skills kiosk at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Eunos.

Mid-career workers require special focus as they have greater financial commitments and had already been grappling with the changing skill sets required by firms before the current crisis, he added.

About 3,600 full-time training opportunities have been created in partnership with companies thus far, and the goal is to raise this to 10,000 by the end of the year, said Mr Chee.

Under the programme, unemployed workers can apply for either an attachment with a company or a full-time training course that ranges from six to 12 months in duration.

The training courses will cover sectors that can provide job opportunities as the economy recovers, such as information and communications technology (ICT) and manufacturing.

The subsidised fees for the courses range from $500 to $1,000, and can be paid for using SkillsFuture credits.

Participants will receive a monthly training allowance of $1,500, as well as career advisory assistance.

The training courses are open to Singaporeans and permanent residents with two or more years of working experience.

The other component of the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme is traineeships.

Those who opt for work attachments over training courses will receive an allowance of up to $3,000 a month, of which 80 per cent will be paid by the Government and 20 per cent by the organisation they are attached to.

More details on traineeships will be announced later.

Mr Alex Ng, 47, who was at the jobs and skills event yesterday hosted by SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore, told The Sunday Times that he was eyeing the courses on offer by Google and other firms in the ICT industry.

Mr Ng, who worked in IT sales for a multinational corporation for 13 years, was retrenched about a month ago, though it has felt like "an eternity" to him.

He said he hopes to pick up new skills that will help him in his job search, such as those related to cloud technology.

"Some of my soft skills I can bring over, but for some areas in ICT they want hard skills," he said.

The $1,500 training allowance will help with his monthly expenses as the retrenchment payout he received amounted to just one month's salary, he said.

While finding new employment with a comparable salary may not be easy, he said he remains optimistic about his future prospects.

"If I really needed to, I could become a Grab driver or find part-time work. There are jobs, it's a matter of whether you're willing to take them," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 26, 2020, with the headline IBM, Shopee among firms to offer training for mid-career job seekers. Subscribe