Public Service to prepare officers for longer careers

Service ambassador Ng Thiam Hock (left), 60, guides customers through electronic transactions and attends to their inquiries at the HDB Punggol branch office. Having upskilled to take on different roles, he is among the first batch of public officers
Service ambassador Ng Thiam Hock (left), 60, guides customers through electronic transactions and attends to their inquiries at the HDB Punggol branch office. Having upskilled to take on different roles, he is among the first batch of public officers who will benefit from the new retirement age in 2021.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Programme to support older staff to start next month before rise in retirement, re-employment ages

The Public Service will be rolling out more programmes to get its officers ready for longer careers, with the earliest to start next month, it said yesterday.

It is also working with training partners to curate a curriculum for mature officers.

These efforts cover job redesign, reskilling, job transitions, workplace health and support for re-employment, among others, said the Public Service Division (PSD).

This move 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.

The Public Service will 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 has 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.

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 and resilience.

Mr Loh Khum Yean, Permanent Secretary of the PSD 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."

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post: "The Public Service will relook our job designs and career paths to see how we can take into account the desire and ability of those who wish to contribute for a longer career span.

"Our mature workers are a valuable talent pool, and we will do our best to help them (have) meaningful and longer careers."

The college has also curated a growth suite programme, which was launched in May, to help officers working in support functions to develop the mindset, knowledge and skills to navigate the future workplace.

It 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.

About 40,000 public officers, including over 10,000 officers aged 50 and above, have participated in such digital literacy programmes.

 
 
 

Mr Ng Thiam Hock, 60, is a public officer who has upskilled to take on different roles.

He is among the first batch of public officers who will benefit from the new retirement age in 2021.

He started out as an electrician in 1985, became a Housing Board clerical officer in 1996, a front-line service counter staff in 2007, and finally a service ambassador from 2015 until now, where he guides customers through electronic transactions and attend to their inquiries.

He said: "Being familiar with using technology helps me to effectively guide residents in conducting their HDB transactions digitally...

"As long as my health permits, I want to keep my mind active and remain in the workforce for as long as possible.

"I am a firm believer that self-improvement is important and that age is just a number.

"Lifelong learning will always be something I believe strongly in."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2019, with the headline 'Public Service to prepare officers for longer careers'. Print Edition | Subscribe