New early childhood initiatives launched to address manpower issues

 Preschool teacher Connie Heng, 29, teaches a N2 class at Eshkol Valley Preschool on Feb 10, 2017.
Preschool teacher Connie Heng, 29, teaches a N2 class at Eshkol Valley Preschool on Feb 10, 2017.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - To address the problem of manpower attrition in the early childhood industry, Workforce Singapore (WSG) developed two initiatives that were announced by Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck on Tuesday (April 11).

The Progressive HR Practices Early Adopter Programme is targeted at early childhood operators, while the SkillsFuture Career Advisors Programme is for jobseekers interested in joining the sector.

The initiatives aim to help retain early childhood educators, while recruiting suitable jobseekers.

They were developed by the Association of Early Childhood and Training Services and the Association for Early Childhood Educators (Singapore) in collaboration with WSG.

More than 20 early childhood operators with 2,800 employees have come on board the HR Programme since it was introduced in February. Consultants will train the operators in implementing good HR practices to improve employee retention in the industry.

Citing the rising demand for childcare services, Mr Teo said the industry requires another 4,000 early childhood professionals by 2020.

He also highlighted the career progression in the sector - teachers can progress to senior roles including leading a centre.

"These opportunities are available to different segments of the workforce, ranging from new entrants to mature workers who meet the minimum requirements for the different job roles," he said.

Mr Teo also noted the importance of finding quality teachers with the right expectations of the industry.

On this front, 24 professionals have volunteered to offer career advice to jobseekers interested in an early childhood career. The first session was held on Tuesday in conjunction with the Early Childhood Care and Education Leadership and HR Conference on Tuesday.

The advisors will provide insight into the industry, in order to minimise mismatches of jobseekers' and employers' expectations.

Some 400 jobseekers are expected to benefit from an estimated 10 sessions by the end of this year.