Coronavirus: 8,000 aviation sector workers to benefit from training and support package; NTUC to pump in $500,000

(Centre, from left) Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng and Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat visit Sats staff during training on addressing service lapses to enhance service quality at Sats’ learning and development hub on March 2, 2020. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Unionised companies in the aviation sector will be able to tap an additional $500,000 in National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) funding to send their workers for training.

The extra fund is on top of the $4 billion support package the Government announced in the Budget last month.

The package, which aims to provide job and cash-flow support to help firms retain and retrain workers across the different industries, will see more than 8,000 workers in the aviation sector benefit from training and support initiatives.

Labour chief Ng Chee Meng, who visited Sats' facilities at the Changi Airfreight Centre on Monday (March 2), said the package covers workers across the board - be it executives, pilots, cabin crew or service staff.

Several organisations involved in rolling out training programmes on Monday gave specifics of how companies and workers will be supported.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said it will provide air transport companies with three months worth of enhanced training support to help them upgrade the capabilities of their workers.

Employers in the air transport sector who send their workers for selected programmes will receive an enhanced Absentee Payroll (AP) support at 90 per cent of hourly basic salary, capped at $10 per hour, and enhanced course fee support at 90 per cent of course fees, up from a baseline rate of 50 per cent.

SSG said it will work with partners to ramp up training capacity for affected employees, such as passenger service agents and cabin officers.

For example, it will be partnering Sats Academy to conduct about 50 training programmes that include skills such as dangerous goods handling and serving passengers with disabilities.

Meanwhile, Workforce Singapore (WSG) has enhanced its Place-and-Train (PnT) Programme for air transport coordinators.

Eligible employers will receive salary support of up to six months, instead of just up to three months, to reskill their rank-and-file workers with new or expanded competencies.

WSG said this would ensure that impacted employees will be prepared when travel demand returns.

"Through the enhanced package, affected companies will receive additional relief measures when they send their workers for retraining and reskilling, to prepare for when business demands return," said the two organisations, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) as well as the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) Aerospace and Aviation Cluster in a joint statement on Monday.

In addition, unionised companies can tap $500,000 NTUC is providing to send its workers for training.

Mr Tan Choon Shian, chief executive of WSG called on employers to take a long-term view to press on with business transformation.

"Work with us to use the downtime to retain and reskill your workers to prepare for business recovery," said Mr Tan.

The Government's $4 billion Stabilisation and Support package was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat last month.

The package included additional measures rolled out for sectors such as aviation and tourism that have been directly affected by the coronavirus.

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