Singapore Fortitude Budget: S$2b to create 100,000 jobs, traineeship, training opportunities

Singapore will set aside about S$2 billion to create nearly 100,000 jobs, traineeship and training opportunities, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on May 26, 2020. — TODAY pic
Singapore will set aside about S$2 billion to create nearly 100,000 jobs, traineeship and training opportunities, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on May 26, 2020. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, May 27 — The Singapore government will set aside about S$2 billion (RM6.12 billion) to create nearly 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training opportunities, as part of the Fortitude Budget announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday.

These will come under an SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, which will help to create more than 40,000 jobs — 15,000 jobs of which will be in the public sector. Government agencies will work with businesses to create another 25,000 jobs.

In addition, there will be about 25,000 traineeship positions available this year, up from the 8,000 announced in March under the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. 

The authorities will also introduce a skills training scheme called the SGUnited Skills programme that will provide training opportunities for about 30,000 jobseekers this year.     

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam will also chair a National Jobs Council overseeing job creation and skills upgrading, Heng said, adding that Mr Tharman had both “detailed knowledge and deep expertise” in these areas.

Here are the main components of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package:

Creating jobs

  • More than 40,000 jobs will be created in the public and private sectors.
  • What public-sector jobs will be created? The public sector, which will create about 15,000 jobs, will bring forward hiring to meet long-term needs, such as early childhood education, healthcare and long-term care. Jobs that meet short-term needs related to  Covid-19 operations, such as healthcare declaration assistants and swabbers, will also be created. In a statement, the Education and Manpower ministries and the Public Service Division added that the public sector would also provide two-year training positions for local jobseekers and equip them with “in-demand skills through structured and on-the-job training.”
  • What private-sector jobs will be available? Heng said businesses have stepped forward with openings in a wide range of roles, such as computer engineers and machine operators. Government agencies will work with the private sector to create 25,000 jobs. 
  • How will people be equipped to take on these jobs? The Government will expand career-conversion programmes to offer more than 14,000 places. These include Place-and-Train conversion programmes under the Adapt and Grow job-support initiative as well as company-led training schemes.

More traineeship

  • Who will benefit? Traineeship, which last up to 12 months, will provide jobseekers with opportunities to gain experience across various industries. Trainees may even land permanent roles with their host companies at the end of their stints. Traineeships are available in sectors as diverse as telecommunications, banking and education. 
  • How many will benefit? About 25,000 traineeships will be created. Of these, 21,000 will be from the SGUnited Traineeships programme announced in the Resilience Budget in March. Another 4,000 will be from a new mid-career traineeship scheme for unemployed mid-career jobseekers. 
  • How will the SGUnited Traineeships programme be enhanced? The Government aims to more than double the traineeships available for young Singaporeans and permanent residents this year, from 8,000 to 21,000. The National Research Foundation said there will be more than 500 research assistant and research fellow positions in universities and research institutes under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research. National artificial intelligence (AI) programme AI Singapore will provide 175 fresh graduates with industry training in areas such as AI and data engineering. Thirty fresh graduates can also land placements in local “deep-tech start-ups” through the government-owned enterprise SG Innovate. Deep-tech start-ups are those relying on advanced scientific research. Recent and new graduates may apply for these opportunities on the MyCareersFuture website from June 1. 
  • What is the SGUnited Mid-Career Traineeships scheme? This scheme will be for unemployed mid-career jobseekers. Government agencies will work with interested companies to provide 4,000 such traineeships. These will help mid-career professionals acquire skills and start new careers. More details will be provided later. 

Skills upgrading

  • Who will benefit? The SGUnited Skills programme, lasting six to 12 months, will expand training capacity to cover about 30,000 jobseekers this year, who may upgrade their skills while looking for a job. 
  • What will participants do? They will take industry-relevant certifiable courses full-time, at highly subsidised rates. Fees, after government subsidies, will be S$500 (RM1,530) for a six-month programme and S$1,000 for a 12-month course. The course fees can be substantially, if not fully offset, by SkillsFuture Credits.
  • Where will the courses be taught? The courses will be delivered by companies and continuing education and training centres, including institutes of higher learning. The programme will be rolled out progressively from July. Government agency SkillsFuture Singapore will provide more information on the courses available and the application process next month.
  • What benefits will they receive? Jobseekers will be given opportunities to apply the skills learnt during training, including through workplace attachments or participation in industry projects. They will also be provided with career guidance and job placement help. They will receive a training allowance of S$1,200 a month. 

Support for hiring

In addition to schemes that support jobseekers, the government will also step up incentives to encourage employers to hire workers amid the economic uncertainties. 

In February, the government announced a SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package to help workers in their 40s and 50s stay employable. The package included a hiring incentive: Employers who hire locals aged 40 and above through reskilling programmes will receive 20 per cent salary support for six months, capped at S$6,000.

Heng said yesterday that this will be doubled to cover 40 per cent of their salary over six months, capped at S$12,000. 

The hiring incentives will also be extended to workers of all ages. For eligible workers under 40, it will cover 20 per cent of monthly salaries over six months, capped at S$6,000, Heng said. 

Heng said that the work of the National Jobs Council, chaired by Mr Tharman, will be integrated with that of the Future Economy Council, which focuses on the overall upgrading of the economy.

“In this way, we can marshal all our experiences and expertise to manage the huge changes that are coming our way,” said Heng. — TODAY

Related Articles