NTUC calls for more internships at Temasek-linked firms

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (left) and Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District, at one of the booths at the Todo Todo Skills Marketplace fair yesterday. Todo Todo is a career support initiative started by NTUC and t
Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu (left) and Ms Denise Phua, Mayor of Central Singapore District, at one of the booths at the Todo Todo Skills Marketplace fair yesterday. Todo Todo is a career support initiative started by NTUC and the People's Association two years ago.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Aim is to help young people in their job search amid uncertain business climate

The labour movement wants Temasek-linked companies to offer more internships so that young people can get a leg-up in their job search amid the uncertain business environment.

National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) assistant secretary-general Desmond Choo made the call yesterday when he urged the Government to open up more internship places, especially in firms in Singapore investment company Temasek's portfolio.

Temasek has stakes in such companies as Singapore Airlines, Standard Chartered Bank and Singtel.

The move could help young people who, on graduation, are taking longer to land jobs that they want, said Mr Choo, who is executive secretary of NTUC's youth wing.

He was speaking to reporters about NTUC's Budget wish list for youth and young parents, after attending a one-day career event for young people at shopping mall Bugis+.

This year's Budget statement will be unveiled in Parliament on Feb 18 by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

TAKING DIFFERENT TRACK

After graduation, we know that skills will get degraded quite quickly. After you get your first diploma and you come out, can we also get you to get a second diploma so that you can change track depending on how the market changes.

NTUC ASSISTANT SECRETARY-GENERAL DESMOND CHOO, urging the Government to provide more subsidies for courses, so that young people can take a second diploma or degree in order to be more agile in the job market.

Another item on the wish list is for more subsidies to be given for courses, so that young people can take a second diploma or degree in order to be more agile in the job market, added Mr Choo , who is also Mayor of the North East District.

"After graduation, we know that skills will get degraded quite quickly. After you get your first diploma and you come out, can we also get you to get a second diploma so that you can change track depending on how the market changes," he said.

Repeating his call at last year's Budget debate, Mr Choo suggested making it mandatory for companies to offer family care leave to workers, to help the "sandwiched" group of people with young children and elderly parents.

 
 
 
 

He also noted that there are many single young Singaporeans taking care of their parents, and they could also do with more support, he said.

Finally, there is scope for the Government to ease the burden of infant care and childcare costs, he added.

Overall, these moves would represent a commitment to understanding the needs of younger Singaporeans and "translating that into policies to help them develop and dedicate themselves to their job as well as take care of the family", he said.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu, who addressed the Todo Todo Skills Marketplace fair, reiterated that the Government is "very serious" about helping young people who, she said, should be strikers, playing to win, not just playing to avoid losing.

"We're not just here to get the next job; some of you here hopefully will also be creating the next job for us," she added.

Todo Todo is a career support initiative started by NTUC and the People's Association two years ago. Since then, 10,000 young people have used 56 of its programmes

Yesterday's event for the Central Singapore district was attended by about 380 young people.

Among them was Mr Thiang Soon Jie, 22, a final-year economics and finance student at RMIT University. He was paired with a Huawei Technologies' senior director last year under a Todo Todo mentorship programme.

Said Mr Thiang: "I wanted to work in technology consulting, but my mentor... advised me to first understand data analytics before working on turning data into actionable insights for companies."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2019, with the headline 'NTUC calls for more internships at Temasek-linked firms'. Print Edition | Subscribe