Overseas posts, better job matches for workers with e2i and SNEF tie-up

(Sitting, from left) SNEF executive director Sim Gim Guan, e2i CEO Caryn Lim, and NTUC assistant director-general Gilbert Tan signing the MOU on Oct 17, 2022. With them are SNEF vice-president Tan Hee Teck (standing, left) and NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Job seekers who aspire to work overseas will now have an additional opportunity, thanks to an upcoming pilot between the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF).

The pilot is one of several initiatives outlined in a memorandum of understanding inked by the institute, an arm of the National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC), and SNEF on Monday, in a bid for better wages, job prospects and worker welfare as Singapore rebounds from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the pilot, job seekers, especially younger professionals, managers and executives, will be placed in the overseas offices of SNEF member firms to enrich their work experience, as well as make them more versatile and adaptable.

Ms Caryn Lim, chief executive of e2i, told reporters that the institute mooted the pilot in response to interest expressed by both SNEF member firms and workers.

The partners are looking to take on five to 10 SNEF member firms who expressed interest in the pilot, said Ms Lim, who did not reveal when the pilot would start running.

“What we’re trying to do with this pilot is to bring on board a few SNEF member companies, and then we will put together a listing of jobs for us to try and find suitable employees for them to go overseas and try this programme.”

The pilot will fall under the Job Security Council (JSC), an e2i-managed NTUC initiative that is set to expand in scope with the SNEF partnership.

Launched in February 2020, the JSC aims to help retrenched workers find good jobs quickly by creating “an ecosystem of hiring and releasing employers, to preemptively shorten the unemployment period”, said e2i in a statement.

Ms Lim said the thinking behind the JSC had a much broader ambit when it was conceived in 2020, but amid Covid-19, the scheme had to focus on job matching.

“We went in, we moved people from this sector to another sector,” she said, adding that the exercise helped the institute realise the importance of mapping out adjacent industries and job roles most relevant to retrenched workers’ skill sets to allow for quick placement and good job fit when downturns occur.

She said: “We saw this in aerospace particularly: the skill sets were much in demand in sectors like semiconductors while aerospace was not doing very well.”

The JSC came not a moment too soon and matched about 60,000 workers to new jobs by August 2022, noted NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng.

He witnessed the signing, held at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East.

Mr Ng added that even though Singapore has largely overcome Covid-19, a strengthened JSC that partners SNEF is needed to help workers in Singapore navigate “the looming shadows of a recession and great uncertainties in the geo-economic spheres”.

Beyond the pilot, other aspects of a strengthened JSC include mapping out good potential job matches across entire industries pre-emptively, rather than just between individual firms when retrenchments occurred amid Covid-19.

The e2i, which has already engaged some 4,000 firms under the JSC, will also ramp up its engagement with the over 3,300 SNEF members, to encourage them to transform their business with existing grants, as well as collaborate to get more mid-career workers on board career conversion programmes offered by SNEF and e2i.

One SNEF member looking forward to increased uptake for career conversion the partnership could foster is tech consultancy firm Acc Pro (Singapore), which specialises in cloud accounting, a field that aims to marry accounting with automation software.

Group business development director Victor Goh said the firm of over 30 employees is looking to double its head count to support expansion into Britain and South-east Asia.

But he added: “We face difficulty in hiring accountants that are technology savvy, even though they do have accounting technical skills.”

After the signing, Mr Ng participated in a closed-door panel discussion attended by 70 employers, moderated by Mr Goh Jia Yong, a partner at Ernst & Young Advisory.

The other panellists were SNEF executive director Sim Gim Guan, Bells Academic Group chief executive Adrian Ang, and Ms Sun Zhen Jun, executive director of MindChamps Preschool@Raffles Town Club.

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