More than 12,000 people placed in new jobs under SGUnited initiative: Josephine Teo

The initiative was introduced in March as part of the supplementary Resilience Budget. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG PHOTO: ST

SINGAPORE - More than 12,000 people have been placed in new jobs since March under the SGUnited Jobs initiative, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said on Friday (July 3).

The Straits Times understands this was a mix of Singaporeans and permanent residents, with Singaporeans as the majority.

The initiative was introduced in March as part of the supplementary Resilience Budget to help job seekers cope with the worsening labour market prospects amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking to the media after touring a career fair at the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) in Jurong East, Mrs Teo said the Government had been making plans for this difficult period from as early as February.

"This is a tough time for job seekers and we fully understand their worries... The Covid-19 situation has evolved very quickly and its impact on the economy is quite severe and obviously the jobs at stake is something we are all concerned about," she said.

The Government is rolling out a massive programme of career matching services, attachments and training places this year. "Those are the three keys that we promise to put into the hands of every Singaporean job seeker," said Mrs Teo.

She explained that career matching is the first key which opens the door to a job. To make career matching services easily accessible, satellite career centres are being set up in every Housing Board town, and job ambassadors will head to malls and hawker centres.

During this period where employers are likely to be more conservative about hiring, a second key is attachment opportunities. This is so that people can learn new skills and acquire industry relevant company specific opportunities, helping them to prepare for new jobs when the economy picks up, added Mrs Teo.

The third key is training opportunities, so that people can make meaningful use of their time if they are waiting for job or attachment positions to open up.

Securing jobs has been a recurring theme in the campaigning for the general election, especially as the economy grapples with the effects of the pandemic.

Close to 70 per cent of the 12,000 placements were in the public sector, including Covid-19 related, healthcare and digital positions, said Workforce Singapore, SkillsFuture Singapore, the Infocomm Media Development Authority, the Public Service Division and NTUC's e2i in a joint statement.

A breakdown was not provided in terms of temporary and permanent roles.

Mrs Teo also said that more than 16,000 opportunities are immediately available under the three arms of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

These places include some 5,000 job vacancies from the public service and other publicly-funded sectors, and another 2,000 or so from the private sector in fields such as manufacturing, food and beverage, infocomm technology, logistics, healthcare and retail.

Of the vacancies, 80 per cent are roles which last at least 12 months, and two-thirds are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians, said Mrs Teo.

Another 3,000 traineeships, or work attachments, are being offered by more than 300 organisations.

Finally, there are more than 6,000 training places for mid-career workers at training providers such as NTUC LearningHub, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.

The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package announced in May aims to support close to 100,000 job seekers this year by creating new vacancies, traineeships and skills training places.

More details were also provided on Friday about a scheme for mid-career workers, called the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme. This will provide 14,500 traineeships and training programmes tailored to mid-career job seekers, so they can gain meaningful industry-relevant work experience while waiting for permanent jobs.

They will receive a monthly training 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.

Application details will be released at a later date.

Mrs Teo said the Government is particularly concerned about job seekers who are in their 40s and 50s.

"They are mid-career, they have a wealth of experience, they've built themselves up and they've got a lot of hard work that they have invested, and we don't want them to be in a position of not being able to move forward in case they are displaced," she said.

Supporting mid-career and mature workers is a key focus of the National Jobs Council, its chairman, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, has said. The council was set up this year to grow jobs and training opportunities on an unprecedented scale amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and is overseeing the design and implementation of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.

Mr Tharman was also at the career event on Friday, together with council members Ng Chee Meng, who is National Trades Union Congress secretary-general, and Douglas Foo, who is president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.

At the event, which was the inaugural SGUnited Jobs and Skills Fair, job seekers could meet potential employers in person or virtually to find out about job and traineeship opportunities. There were also training providers present, some of which are technology companies with potential vacancies within their own firms.

Fresh graduates can also seek traineeships at a virtual career fair from now until July 12.

Remote video URL

Job seekers can also get career advice and job matching services at new SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres around the island. Eight centres at community centres started operating on Wednesday, and another 16 will be set up by Aug 15. In addition, there are existing career services centres such as those operated by Workforce Singapore and e2i.

Mr Ng told reporters that the Government, employers and unions want to ensure jobs are accessible through the satellite career services centres being set up, and through job fairs in places such as Punggol, Sengkang and Hougang.

"All these are to bring jobs within reach of Singaporeans. 100,000 is a big number, to make this real, reachable to residents is equally important," he said.

Under the training portion of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, the SGUnited Skills programme will be rolled out for sectors with job opportunities as the economy recovers, such as advanced manufacturing, environmental services, construction and facilities management, security, and social services.

Trainees will attend full-time courses run by institutes of higher learning, and can obtain industry-recognised certifications, said Friday's joint statement.

They will receive a monthly training allowance of $1,200 for the duration of their courses, which will be from six to 12 months. After government subsidies, the course fees will be $500 for a six-month programme and $1,000 for a 12- month programme, which can be further offset using SkillsFuture Credit.

Career advice and employment assistance will also be provided to help trainees look for jobs in the relevant sectors.

For more information, visit the SkillsFuture website.

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