Traineeships, attachments should help workers find permanent jobs after S'pore economy recovers: Chee Hong Tat

(From right) Bishan-Toa Payoh MP Chee Hong Tat and Marymount MP Gan Siow Huang at a job fair at Toa Payoh HDB Hub on Aug 1, 2020. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

SINGAPORE - Training and apprenticeship programmes offered as part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package should translate into more career opportunities down the road, said MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh Chee Hong Tat.

Under this package, the Government aims to create close to 100,000 jobs, traineeships and skills training places for job seekers in the next year through various initiatives, including the launching of satellite career centres across Singapore.

Some job seekers have expressed concern over the temporary nature of traineeships and attachment programmes during these times of economic uncertainty, but Mr Chee, who is also Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Transport, said such placements are important during this period.

"Jobs are harder to come by now. But when (economic) recovery comes six months or 12 months later - hopefully sooner - there will be more jobs available. And that's when training will allow workers to have more skills to access those job openings and find permanent jobs subsequently," he told the media during a job fair at Toa Payoh HDB Hub on Saturday (Aug 1).

He was joined by Bishan-Toa Payoh MPs, Mr Chong Kee Hiong and Mr Saktiandi Supaat, as well as MP for Marymount SMC Gan Siow Huang.

Ms Gan said it was hoped that companies which provide training and apprenticeship opportunities would consider hiring these job seekers at the end of their placements.

"We do hope these job seekers will be able to pick up new skills, new networks and at the end of the enterprise training, be hired by the company or have a greater network for them to be able to find new jobs," she said.

She added that the Government was providing incentives so that companies hire these trainees at the end of their programmes.

On Saturday, Mr Chee also announced that an SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre would be opening at Toa Payoh West Community Centre, which would provide career matching services and advice to job seekers in the area.

Since July 1, eight such satellite career centres across Singapore have already helped about 1,300 job seekers by giving them basic career advice and aid in their job search, he said.

The new centre in Mr Chee's constituency comes under phase two of the programme, which will see eight such centres opening in other heartland areas. Phase three of the programme - which starts on Aug 15 - will see another eight satellite career centres open.

Following the economic disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is inevitable that some firms will be affected and their workers retrenched, while other sectors will see growth and will be hiring people, said Mr Chee.

"We have to help the workers who are affected to be able to transit to these new sectors. This requires training and skills upgrading to be the bridge to help them crossover from one sector to another," he said.

He added that the nature of the economy and jobs started changing even before Covid-19 hit our shores, but the pandemic accelerated the pace of this change.

"The post-Covid world is going to be a very different environment from what we used to have. So we must be prepared to make some fundamental changes to our economic policies and also individually, our own mindsets as employers and job seekers," he said.

"We can't go back to what things used to be and expect that the world will change for us. We have to adapt to this new world."

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