SINGAPORE: Schools are giving career guidance to students who are entering sectors that have been hard-hit by COVID-19, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said in Parliament on Monday (Nov 2).
She was responding to Tampines GRC Member of Parliament Desmond Choo, who asked how students majoring in disciplines related to aerospace, aviation and hospitality were being prepared for their graduation next year.
These sectors have been particularly affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as overseas travel ground to a halt.
Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have started career guidance and assistance programmes, as well as help to explore "adjacent career opportunities", Mrs Teo said.
"We are organising career fairs that feature job openings in adjacent sectors which will make good use of the graduates’ education and skills," she said.
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The IHLs are also introducing new electives for students to equip them with skills that are sought after, such as data analytics and visualisation, programming and digital marketing, she added.
Mrs Teo said that the Government has introduced the SGUnited Traineeships Programme, which has curated more than 21,000 traineeship places from about 3,300 host organisations.
"In general, employers are open to accepting good candidates across a range of disciplines. Candidates will also have better opportunities if they are open to trying out positions outside of the disciplines they are trained in, or look beyond positions that many applicants have focused on," she said.
She said that the Education Ministry's Graduate Employment Survey for graduates in 2020 will be published in the first quarter of 2021, and this will give some indication about the prospects for the cohort graduating next year.
In response to supplementary questions by Mr Choo, Mrs Teo said that about half of the students in aerospace engineering could still secure internships related to their area of study.
The other half of the students were able to secure internships in other areas, such as manufacturing, where they can apply their skills. In aviation management, about 60 per cent of students have been able to get internships, even if it is not directly involved in their field of study, she said.
"That gives us a sense as to how the collective efforts of agencies involved, together with the students own willingness to step out of their comfort zone – they have been able to secure meaningful internships which we believe will enable them to be better positioned for the job market."