Lower-skilled and older workers in aviation sector set to benefit from $3 million training grant

The grant will fund training programmes and help extend the careers of older workers, among other things.
The grant will fund training programmes and help extend the careers of older workers, among other things.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - A $3 million grant has been launched to fund training programmes for lower-skilled and older workers in the aviation sector.

Announcing this on Tuesday (June 22), the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said 3,000 workers - including cleaners, trolley service officers, landscape officers, taxi coordinators and freight forwarders - are expected to benefit from it.

The Singapore OneAviation Reskilling (Soar) grant will be drawn from the Aviation Resilience Package, which was announced last December to cushion the blow of the Covid-19 pandemic on companies in the sector.

It will fund training to upskill lower-skilled air transport workers, extend productive careers of older workers and support career progression and talent retention.

The grant will also fund air transport-related training courses initiated by workers or collectively through their unions via their company training committees (CTC).

NTUC will work with established aviation companies such as Singapore Airlines to provide in-house training. Unions will collaborate with companies via CTCs to identify potential new job roles or opportunities.

These include helping older workers transition from trolley-retrieving duties to more service-related positions at the airport, and training workers to perform manual duties with automation tools.

Companies will be reimbursed up to $100 per day of training per participant upon completion of each course or programme.

NTUC has also committed $1.5 million of the NTUC Education and Training Fund, rolled out in March 2019, to boost the training capacity of unionised companies. Such companies can tap additional funding of up to $50 per worker per day, capped at five days.

Both unionised and non-unionised companies will be mobilised so that their workers can make full use of the training support, in preparation for the sector's transformation when recovery takes off.

CAAS director-general Kevin Shum said: "The aviation sector has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Soar grant will support ongoing efforts in preserving core capabilities within the sector. This ensures that Singapore's aviation hub retains a strong pool of talent and expertise to support smooth operations at Changi Airport."

NTUC deputy secretary-general Cham Hui Fong said union leaders will get feedback from workers themselves on training gaps and needs.

"We believe this is important as it allows workers to take ownership of their own training and development needs," she said.

The Soar grant is open to all Singapore citizens and permanent residents in the air transport sector. Those interested can approach their union or human resource representatives for more information.