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Support schemes in 4 Budgets have saved jobs, but job seekers should keep an open mind: Josephine Teo

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SINGAPORE: If Singapore did not have the support programmes introduced in the four Budgets this year, the country would be “drenched in soaring unemployment”, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in Parliament on Thursday (Jun 4).
The Jobs Support Scheme, for instance, has helped to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market.
“(The schemes) are providing much needed cover to businesses and workers, saving jobs and livelihoods,” said Mrs Teo.
“If we did not have this cover, we would already be drenched in soaring unemployment, as can be seen in some countries. We would be dealing with a very different problem today.”
Singapores economy is expected to contract by 4 to 7 per cent this year and unemployment is likely to climb. But there is “a window of opportunity to get organised” before it sees further job losses, Mrs Teo said in her speech during the debate on the Fortitude Budget.

READ: Singapore's total employment plunges in Q1, sharpest drop since SARS

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The Government will create more employment and training opportunities to help people tide over the COVID-19 economic fallout, she said, but job seekers should also be open to different opportunities.
“We will spare no effort to open up new pathways for job seekers and guide them appropriately – as big a push as we can,” said Mrs Teo.
“But for matches to happen, I urge jobseekers to keep an open mind – stay open to pathways that you would not have considered previously.
“Give the employers a chance and give yourself a chance.”

READ: Fortitude Budget: S$2.9 billion to boost and extend Jobs Support Scheme; SMEs to get more rental relief

READ: Employers that 'disguise retrenchments' may have Jobs Support Scheme, work pass privileges withdrawn: Josephine Teo

NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR JOB SEEKERS

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In particular, there will be a “big push” to open up new pathways to jobs for those who were retrenched, the self-employed, mid-career workers and fresh graduates, said the Manpower Minister.
“Ideally, (the pathways) should lead to a job. But in todays context, it may not be an immediate job or a permanentjob, it should however be a pathwaythat allows for people to use their time meaningfully, learn something useful and gain valuable experience,” she added.
Mrs Teo cited the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package, which aims to create about 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training openings. Its an “epic challenge”, but the Government is committed to create these job opportunities.
“To give members a sense of scale, Workforce Singapore and its partners like e2i and MAS placed an average of 29,000 locals into jobs every year in the last three years,” she told the House.
“The target of close to 100,000 opportunities is not insurmountable but the National Jobs Council will have to work very hard to create the pathways, involving multiple partners.”

READ: Fortitude Budget: More than 40,000 jobs to be created as part of S$2b employment, training package

The new National Jobs Council is led by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Part of this effort includes bringing forward the public sectors hiring plans and increasing the number of career conversion programme placements so that there would be 40,000 jobs available this year.

READ: National Jobs Council will open pathways to jobs amid COVID-19 pandemic: Josephine Teo

TRAINEESHIPS WHERE THERE ARE NO PERMANENT ROLE VACANCIES
But not everyone will be offered a permanent position in the current economic climate, Mrs Teo acknowledged, which is where traineeships come in.
“These traineeships may not provide the same security as a job, but they will provide valuable industry-relevant experience and better position a jobseeker when the economy recovers,” she added.

READ: Government to set aside S$100 million for traineeship programme amid COVID-19

For a start, there will be about 25,000 traineeship positions. These include 4,000 for mid-career workers, whom Mrs Teo said have the potential to help businesses, particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises, transform.
To date, 1,000 organisations have stepped forward to offer to host more than 11,000 trainees, she said.
IMPROVING ABILITY TO REACH OUT TO MORE PEOPLE
To reach out to more job seekers, the Manpower Ministry will increase the number of physical career centres it has across Singapore, from five to having a presence in all 24 HDB towns.
The ministry has also been trying to improve its digital offerings on its MyCareersFuture.sg jobs portal, through virtual career fairs.
Industry partners have been “instrumental” in keeping workers relevant, Mrs Teo pointed out.
For example, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) retrained almost 4,000 air transport workers for other positions, and is currently trying to heRead More – Source