Public service rolling out more programmes to prepare workers for longer careers ahead of rise in retirement age in 2021

The move by the Public Service Division comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's announcement during the National Day Rally speech that the retirement and re-employment ages will be raised. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The public service will be rolling out more programmes to get its workers ready for longer careers, with the earliest to start next month, it said on Monday (Aug 19).

It is also working with training partners to curate a curriculum for mature officers that may include skills such as digital literacy and change agility.

These are part of its efforts to help its officers stay employable, which cover job redesign, expanding job options, re-skilling and job transitions over a longer career span, workplace health, and support for officers to plan ahead for their careers and re-employment, said a statement by the Public Service Division.

This move comes after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's announcement during the National Day Rally speech on Sunday that the retirement and re-employment ages will be raised.

The public service will take the lead by raising the retirement age to 63 and offering re-employment to eligible officers until they turn 68 from July 1, 2021, one year ahead of the national schedule.

More than 2,000 public officers turning 62 and 67 from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022, will benefit from this move.

The public service is one of the largest employers in Singapore, with about 145,000 officers.

A new programme to support older officers in managing career transition, retirement, financial planning, health and relationships will be launched next month by the Civil Service College in partnership with the Centre for Seniors.

More than 50 officers have attended the pilot run of the programme earlier this year. Employers can recommend mature public officers suitable for the programme to sign up for it.

The Civil Service College is also working with training partners to curate a curriculum that supports mature officers in their lifelong learning and employability.

This includes topics such as digital literacy, critical thinking, resilience, and agility to learn continuously and adapt to change.

Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Division and chairman of the college, said: "Our officers will have a longer span of career, potentially spanning a few decades. The public service will actively invest in providing new skills to our officers throughout their careers with us, so that they can continually grow as individuals across more than one job in the public service and be able to serve Singapore and Singaporeans well."

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The Civil Service College has also curated a growth suite programme to help officers working in support functions develop the mindsets, knowledge and skills to navigate the future workplace. Launched in May, the programme consists of five modules that cover basic digital literacy and teach officers to have a growth mindset of resilience, adaptability and learning agility.

Officers also learn to apply creativity and their strengths to their work.

The college also offers e-learning modules on a public service digital learning platform and classroom training on topics such as cyber security, and communication and collaboration using digital tools.

Around 40,000 public officers, including more than 10,000 officers aged 50 and above, have participated in such digital literacy programmes as of this month.

Mr Sanjeev Tiwari, general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Employees, said: "Raising the retirement and re-employment ages is much-awaited good news. This will enable officers to remain employable longer with greater certainty.

"As such, the need for continuous upskilling and re-skilling becomes even more important. Officers can look forward to greater deployment possibilities to take on new roles at various points in their careers."

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