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 Singapore government aims to create close to 100,000 jobs, traineeships, and skills training opportunities for job seekers in 2021 through a number of initiatives, including the launching of satellite career centres across Singapore.

Several job seekers have expressed concern over the traineeships and attachment programmes, as they are a non-permanent position and does not necessarily satisfy the financial needs of workers; something that is of great concern during these times of economic uncertainty. However, 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 1 August.

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.

In addition, Ms Gan mentions that the government was in the midst of providing incentives towards companies who intend to hire these trainees at the end of their programmes. She also announced that a 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.

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 15 August, will see another eight satellite career centres open.

The devastating economic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic inevitably saw thousands of firms affected and even more workers retrenched while certain sectors saw growth and continued to hire. Mr Chee assures that the government will be doing everything in its power to help workers who are affected to transition to new jobs in new sectors, which is another reason why the training programmes are so important.

He added that the nature of jobs in Singapore had already begun changing even before the pandemic hit. However, COVID-19 did serve to accelerate the pace of said 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.


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