Over the past decade, the world has become “hyper-connected” and our lives have been intertwined with digital technologies. The term “Digital Economy” has been a hot topic in recent years, and digitalization has provided numerous opportunities for businesses that were quick to adopt it. “Unlocking value”, “driving growth” and “improving efficiency” were just some of the many benefits of digital transformation often talked about by business leaders.
Organizations that have been quick to adopt digitalization are therefore more adaptable to changing situations, which leads to greater business resilience and sustainability. Take the Financial Services sector as an example. Bank tellers used to provide services over the counter to customers face-to-face but today, banks have video teller machines and chatbots to replace manual tasks to enhance efficiency and customer convenience. As consumer banking transactions are increasingly digitised and automated, this presents an opportunity to re-skill existing employees. The move to newer tasks such as digital marketing and data analytics minimizes the risk of traditional job roles being displaced and help banks succeed in their transformation plans.
COVID-19 has only accelerated this process further. Working remotely, using more technology, communicating, and collaborating virtually, conducting business online, and learning digitally all became the order of the day. Jobs were lost, found, and transformed, sometimes within a very short span of time.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) is committed to helping companies in Singapore transform jobs and future-proof their workforce. The immediate need has been to provide jobs for various workforce segments – fresh graduates, professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMETs), mature workers and mid-career workers, as well as workers who wish to switch away from the very sector they have been working in. WSG is at the forefront of these initiatives supporting companies and preparing them for a future workforce of rapid technological developments and digitalization through offering the Career Conversion Programmes, which include the Professional Conversion Programmes and the Job Redesign Reskilling/ Redeployment Programmes.
A quick look at the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package Programme
The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, which was introduced in May 2020 aimed to create 100,000 job, attachment, and training opportunities by the end of 2020 to support workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of end-December 2020, nearly 76,000 individuals were placed into jobs, traineeships, attachments and skills training. This year, the package was extended with enhancements based on extensive industry consultations to continue providing reskilling and employment facilitation support.
The package comprises three broad areas:
The first area focuses on an expanded SGUnited Jobs Initiative supported by bringing forward hiring plans in the Public Service, to bring about a wide range of permanent positions in the public sector and temporary jobs to support COVID-19 efforts or to cope with disruptions in labour supply.
It also focuses on more company traineeships and attachment opportunities through the SGUnited Traineeships Programme for recent and new graduates, the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme for mid-career individuals, and Attach-and Train programmes. As of the end of Feb 2021, both the SGUnited Traineeships Programme and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme have benefitted 9,500 recent graduates and mid-career individuals.
The SGUnited Traineeships Programme supports our local graduates with the opportunity to hone their skills professionally and boost their employability by the time hiring demand picks up. Host companies can benefit by gaining access to a qualified pool of fresh talent and can consider hiring well-performing trainees as permanent employees after the traineeship period when business conditions stabilize.
Organizations across the private sector, the Government, and the Institutes of Higher Learning have come forward to offer traineeship opportunities under the programme. They include Singtel, DBS Bank, NTUC Fairprice Co-operative, Surbana Jurong Pte Ltd, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.
The programme has been extended till March 2022 and from 1 April 2021, the maximum monthly training allowance for Diploma holders and ITE graduates were raised. The Government provides 80% support towards these allowances.
Meanwhile, the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme provides attachments and full-time training courses for mid-career individuals to acquire industry-relevant experience, build useful skills and widen professional networks as a step towards permanent jobs.
The programme has also been extended till March 2022 and from 1 April 2021, the maximum monthly training allowance for mature mid-career individuals aged 40 and above was raised. The government’s co-funding of the monthly training allowance will also be raised from 80% to 90%, to encourage host organizations to consider taking mature mid-career individuals on attachment.
Lastly, the third area focuses on strengthening training support through SGUnited Skills programme. Through this, job seekers can also continue to upgrade their skills while looking for a job under the new SGUnited Skills programme, which is a full-time training programme with a training allowance, designed in partnership with the industries.