Grassroots leaders, volunteers offer career guidance

Ms Eileen Soh and Mr Allan Liong are among the 52 who have signed up as employability ambassadors.
Ms Eileen Soh and Mr Allan Liong are among the 52 who have signed up as employability ambassadors.PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

With a plethora of employment resources available these days, job seekers can get confused about where they should seek help.

But they will soon be able to get guidance right in their neighbourhood, from employability ambassadors who will provide them with basic career advice.

For now, 52 grassroots leaders and volunteers have signed up to be such ambassadors for North East Community Development Council (CDC), which will first roll out the initative in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC.

Ms Eileen Soh, 54, is among those who have put themselves forward. Having struggled to find a job two years ago when she returned after an overseas stint, she hopes to help others like herself.

Ms Soh, who now works as an IT deployment lead at Accenture, said: "It's an opportunity for me to link job seekers up with agencies and point them in the right direction."

Earlier this month, the ambassadors went for a half-day training session by Workforce Singapore, the Employment and Employability Institute and the CDC, during which they learnt about labour market trends and job placement channels they can refer people to.

Such guidance is already available, but it is the first districtwide effort to mobilise ambassadors.

The North East CDC aims to have 120 such ambassadors by the end of the year and expand the initiative to Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC and Tampines GRC by next June.

The number of people seeking help from the CDC's job placement centres grew by 15 per cent in the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period last year, said North East CDC general manager Irene Lee.

North East District Mayor Desmond Choo said the volunteers can help guide residents to available resources, as "there are many platforms and navigating these might be challenging".

AIA Singapore financial services consultant Allan Liong, 48, one of the ambassadors, wants to help those who have been retrenched.

"When you lose a job you may really have no spirit to fight...I would ask people to keep themselves updated and try new things," said Mr Liong, who bounced back after losing his job in 2009.

This Saturday, 15 ambassadors will be at Kovan Hub for the Adapt and Grow North East Career Fair @ Aljunied. There will be over 400 jobs on offer, with most positions in North East district, and about a quarter for professionals, managers, executives and technicians.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'Grassroots leaders, volunteers offer career guidance'. Subscribe