Over 12,000 people get new jobs under SGUnited initiative

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo (from right); National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Ng Chee Meng; and Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who chairs the National Jobs Council, touring a career fair at the Employment and Employability I
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo (from right); National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Ng Chee Meng; and Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who chairs the National Jobs Council, touring a career fair at the Employment and Employability Institute in Jurong East yesterday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Expanded scheme offered 16k vacancies, traineeships, training places at career fair

More than 12,000 people have been placed in new jobs since March under the SGUnited Jobs initiative, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said yesterday.

The Straits Times understands this was a mix of Singaporeans and permanent residents, with the majority being Singaporeans.

The initiative was introduced in the supplementary Resilience Budget to help job seekers cope with worsening labour market prospects amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

It was later expanded into the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, announced in May, which aims to create 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training places for locals this year.

Speaking to the media after touring a career fair at the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) in Jurong East, Mrs Teo said that more than 16,000 opportunities were available yesterday under the package.

These places include some 5,000 job vacancies from the public service and other publicly-funded sectors, and another 2,000 or so from the private sector, in fields such as manufacturing, food and beverage, infocomm technology, logistics, healthcare and retail, said a joint statement by several government agencies and e2i.

Of the vacancies, 80 per cent are in roles that last at least 12 months, and two-thirds are for professionals, managers, executives and technicians, said Mrs Teo.

Another 3,000 traineeships, or work attachments, are being offered by more than 300 organisations. Finally, there are more than 6,000 training places for mid-career workers.

Mrs Teo highlighted "the three keys that we promise to put into the hands of every Singaporean job seeker".

She said career matching is the first key that opens the door to a job. To make career matching services easily accessible, satellite career centres are being set up in every Housing Board town, and job ambassadors will head to malls and hawker centres.

During this period when employers are likely to be more conservative about hiring, a second key is attachment opportunities.​

  • Scheme to aid mid-career workers

    More details were provided yesterday about the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme, which will provide 14,500 traineeships and training programmes tailored to mid-career job seekers.

    They will receive a monthly training allowance of up to $3,000 a month, of which 80 per cent will be paid by the Government and 20 per cent by the organisation they are attached to, said a joint statement by several government agencies and NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute.

    The scheme aims to help mid-careerists gain meaningful industry-relevant work experience while waiting for permanent jobs. Application details will be released at a later date.

    Manpower Minister Josephine Teo told reporters that the Government is particularly concerned about job seekers in their 40s and 50s. "They are mid-career, they have a wealth of experience, they've built themselves up and they've got a lot of hard work that they have invested, and we don't want them to be in a position of not being able to move forward in case they are displaced," she said.

    Meanwhile, the SGUnited Skills Programme for mid-careerists will be rolled out in sectors with job opportunities as the economy recovers, such as advanced manufacturing, environmental services, construction and facilities management, security, and social services.

    Trainees will receive a monthly training allowance of $1,200. After government subsidies, the course fees will be $500 for a six-month programme and $1,000 for a 12-month programme. Fees can be further offset using SkillsFuture Credit.

    Career advice and employment assistance will also be provided to help trainees look for jobs in relevant sectors.


    Joanna Seow

This is so that people can learn new skills and acquire industry-relevant and company-specific opportunities, helping them to prepare for new jobs when the economy picks up, added Mrs Teo.

The third key is training opportunities, so that people can make meaningful use of their time if they are waiting for job or attachment positions to open up.

Securing jobs has been a recurring theme in the campaigning for the general election, especially as the economy grapples with the effects of the pandemic.

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who chairs the National Jobs Council, which is overseeing the design and implementation of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, was also at yesterday's event, together with council members Ng Chee Meng, who is secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress, and Douglas Foo, who is president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.

Mr Ng told reporters that the Government, employers and unions want to ensure jobs are accessible through the satellite career centres being set up in every Housing Board town, and through job fairs in places such as Punggol, Sengkang and Hougang.

"All these are to bring jobs within reach of Singaporeans. 100,000 is a big number, to make this real, reachable to residents is equally important," he said.

One employer at the fair yesterday, PerkinElmer Singapore, took on a young trainee last month and is looking to take on another nine.

The lab measurement instruments manufacturer was quite dependent on foreign technicians, but this was disrupted due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, so the firm is now more focused on hiring locals, said managing director Loh Boon Yiong. "We want to use this time to train up people so we can scale up when new products are launched," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2020, with the headline 'Over 12,000 people get new jobs under SGUnited initiative'. Print Edition | Subscribe