NSmen to get cert showing WSQ credits for their NS courses, in move to help in job-hunting

The WSQ is a national training framework that trains and certifies individuals in skills that are valued by employers.
The WSQ is a national training framework that trains and certifies individuals in skills that are valued by employers.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Starting next year, national servicemen will get a certificate that shows the Workforce Skills Qualification credits for their full-time service - a move welcomed by companies.

The improved Certificate of Service (COS) will also include milestone events they were involved in, such as overseas training exercises or the Army Open House.

Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen announced the enhancement at this year's Total Defence Awards Dinner held at the Fairmont Hotel on Thursday (Oct 5).

Companies said that these new information would be useful in judging prospective hires.

Mr Charlton Ong, vice-president of human resources at Singtel, said: "It gives us an opportunity to assess whether the skills and values that the applicant has picked up during their national service days are aligned with our core values and practices, such as leadership, critical thinking, or teamwork."

Director of Forbis Accounting Willy Tan, 27, whose firm has four employees, said that having information about the number of servicemen that have taken a course would also be useful.

"If there are many people that have taken a particular course, we might afford to be more picky," said the NSman, who is a combat engineer by vocation.

A certificate of completion will continue to be given. NSFs who perform exceptionally well and those taking on leadership roles will also receive a testimonial in recognition of their contributions.

There will also be an employers' guide launched with the enhanced certificate next year, to help employers better understand the significance of the various NS milestones and achievements, including soft skills and character attributes displayed or developed by full-time national servicemen (NSFs).

Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung said in March(17) that there were 23 SAF courses that were accredited under the WSQ scheme. This includes Basic Military Training for most recruits, except for commando or naval diver trainees.

The WSQ is a national training framework that trains and certifies individuals in skills that are valued by employers. Mr Ong said then that the move was to recognise that servicemen attain leadership, technical and specialist skills that meet professional standards accepted by industries.

In his speech on Thursday, Dr Ng also acknowledged the increasing concern of Singaporeans about continued peace in the country and the region, with the escalation of words over the North Korean missile and nuclear tests, and regular reports of terrorist attacks.

"The concern of Singaporeans is legitimate. Over the last two years, ISD has detained 11 radicalised Singaporeans. This number is as many as in the seven years preceding that period," he said.

The defence minister was the guest-of-honour at the event where 139 NS Advocate Awards were presented to 12 individuals, 89 small and medium enterprises, 24 large companies and 14 other organisations.

The award is the highest accolade conferred on organisations, businesses and individuals in recognition of their exemplary support towards Total Defence and national service.

One winner of the award for Small and Medium Enterprises is local firm Eng Bee Paper Merchant, which sells religious items. It recognises the IPPT performance of its NSman employees on the company's noticeboard, so as to motivate them to do well.