Channel NewsAsia

Singaporeans need to continue to be competitive: Manpower Minister

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin says the growth that Singapore enjoys today is not a given, and Singaporeans have to fight for it because the competition is real. 

SINGAPORE: The Manpower Ministry and its agencies have a part to play in creating an environment where the economy can grow and where job opportunities are created for Singaporeans. Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said this at his ministry's National Day Observance ceremony on Thursday (Aug 7).

Mr Tan said the growth that Singapore enjoys today is not a given, and Singaporeans have to fight for it because the competition is real. "The reason why we do need growth, we do need to continue to be competitive, we do need to continue to be open to the world is so that we can help create the opportunities for our people, for our children. So that they can have jobs that they can look forward to," said Mr Tan.

As the government creates more opportunities, it also needs to equip Singaporeans with the ability to seize them, and one way to do so is through education. Mr Tan added: "So, of course the education system helps prepare us. But we continue on that responsibility in terms of continuing education and training, especially post-formal education. To make sure that as the world changes, we are able to continue to equip Singaporeans with the skills and abilities to adjust."

To do this, Mr Tan said his ministry will work closely with other agencies and also through the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE). This review aims to look at enhancing career and academic progression prospects for students from the Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics.

Mr Tan said: "We want to make sure there are routes for Singaporeans in every sector; whatever your education background, there are pathways open to you to fulfil your potential."

As the workplace environment plays a key role, Mr Tan said his ministry will look at promoting progressive human resource practices and better leadership.

"I think sometimes we spend too many hours at work but it is a different topic altogether. But if you are going to spend that time at work, then let us make sure that the work environment is positive, let us try to make sure that the work experience is positive. There is no reason why work should be seen as a negative", said Mr Tan.

With CPF being a hot topic recently, Mr Tan said it is important to recognise that the scheme remains a "very strong" and "stable" system. Still, he added that the scheme will continue to be strengthened to ensure retirement adequacy for Singaporeans.

Mr Tan said: "So after work ends, how do we ensure retirement adequacy, to give that peace of mind so that Singaporeans can have an assurance after that? And that is something that we do, and that is something that we will continue to strengthen. I think there are some ideas that we have in place and we will continue to strengthen the system over time." 

Tweet photos, videos and updates on this story to  @channelnewsasia