Coronavirus: Traineeships can pay off for mid-career job seekers, companies

Firms get skilled workers who benefit from professional attachments: Josephine Teo

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo acknowledged that businesses are stretched financially and may find it difficult to pay a decent stipend to trainees.


Both employers and job seekers can end up as big winners if traineeships for mid-career professionals can take off on a large scale, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said yesterday.

Job seekers will get professional or industrial attachments in companies which may be more beneficial than classroom training, while the companies get skilled workers, she said.

But she also noted that offering traineeships for mid-career workers will be more challenging than for fresh graduates, as companies have to curate a meaningful experience for them that matches their skills and capabilities.

The worker may also have to accept a role that is different from what they were used to, with adjusted pay.

But if the programmes are curated well and there is meaningful work that is valuable to the company, it can lead to eventual employment for the worker.

"It will get them to a job, maybe not with the same company or industry, but the experience is worth something and can be a springboard," she said.

"At a broader level, we will continue to build up Singaporeans' human capital and don't allow it to go to waste."

She acknowledged that businesses are already stretched financially by the coronavirus crisis and may find it difficult to pay a decent stipend to trainees.

That is where the Government can come in to provide funding, as well as to help companies see the value proposition of the scheme, she added.

Workforce Singapore co-funds 80 per cent of the qualifying training allowance for host companies offering traineeships to young locals.

These traineeships have gained good traction among companies, with over 1,000 firms committed to offer about 11,000 roles.

More details will be provided for mid-career traineeships later.

Mrs Teo said that more companies can also be involved beyond the large firms that have signed up to offer places.

Positions can also be offered to graduates from a range of backgrounds such as humanities, rather than just science or technology.

"We will look at opportunities for all kinds of graduates in all disciplines. It is also not accurate to think of an arts graduate not potentially having relevance in a tech-rich environment," she said.

There are companies in banking, telecommunications and manufacturing which are already on board, she added.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2020, with the headline Coronavirus: Traineeships can pay off for mid-career job seekers, companies. Subscribe