SINGAPORE: More than 40,000 jobs will be created as part of a S$2 billion package to improve the employment situation amid the COVID-19-induced economic downturn.
On Tuesday (May 26), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in Parliament during the fourth Budget this year an SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package that will create close to 100,000 opportunities, which includes the jobs, as well as 25,000 traineeships and 30,000 skills training placements.
READ: S$33b Fortitude Budget aimed at providing jobs, supporting workers and firms through 'difficult period' of COVID-19
READ: Fortitude Budget: Additional S$800 million set aside for COVID-19 Support Grant; S$100 one-off utilities credit
For the 40,000 positions, the public sector will bring forward its hiring schedule to meet long-term needs in areas like early childhood education, healthcare and long-term care.
Together with jobs to meet short-term needs related to COVID-19 operations, such as healthcare declaration assistants and swabbers, the public sector will create 15,000 roles, Mr Heng said.
READ: Singapore's GDP expected to shrink between 4% and 7% as 2020 growth forecast cut again on COVID-19 impact
The other 25,000 jobs will come from businesses. Mr Heng said government agencies will work alongside companies to create these positions through avenues such as scaling up the Adapt and Grow programmes.
To make sure that people have what it takes to take on these jobs, the Government will also expand the capacity of its career conversion programmes, such as the Place-and-Train conversion programmes, as well as the Infocomm Media Development Authority-driven initiative.
TRAINEESHIPS AND TRAINING
To offer individuals industry-relevant experience, about 25,000 traineeships will be available this year, including 4,000 places for mid-career jobseekers.
“We understand that many are worried about their job prospects,” Mr Heng explained. “This scheme specifically caters to the needs of mid-career individuals, to learn new skills and embark on new careers.”
The other 21,000 traineeship positions - more than double the original 8,000 target - will go to local first-time jobseekers like university graduates.
READ: Fortitude Budget: S$2.9b to improve and extend Jobs Support Scheme; S$2b to help SMEs with rental costs
READ: 'It’s about trying until our last breath': New F&B players cook up survival plans for COVID-19 crisis
These traineeships, in which the training allowance is co-funded by Workforce Singapore for up to 12 months, will include technology-related areas that are in high demand or emerging rapidly, Mr Heng said.
More than a thousand companies have expressed interest in the programme so far, said Mr Heng, adding that the public sector will also offer some of these traineeships.
Mr Heng said that people may be hired by the host company after their traineeship term, and even if they are not, they would have picked up skills they can bring to their next job.
To encourage individuals to improve their skills, jobseekers that undergo training programme will receive an allowance of S$1,200 a month during the course of their training.
This is meant to help them focus on their learning and job search, Mr Heng said.
From July, the SGUnited Skills programme will offer 30,000 training placements for individual to take subsidised, six to 12 months full-time courses offered by companies and continuing education training centres such as universities.
MORE SALARY SUBSIDIES FOR EMPLOYERS
To spur employers to continue hiring despite the bleak economic outlook, the Government will increase the amount it gives out under SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package, Mr Heng said.
For workers aged 40 and above hired through re-skilling programmes, it will cover 40 per cent of the worker’s salary over six months, capped at S$12,000 in total.
For eligible workers under 40, the Government will co-fund 20 per cent of the worker’s monthly salary over six months, capped at S$6,000 in total.
READ: Fortitude Budget: More than S$500m allocated to support digital transformation of businesses amid COVID-19 outbreak
And to help shape the employment landscape, senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who is also the coordinating minister for social policies, will chair a new National Jobs Council focused on developing jobs and building deeper skills, Mr Heng announced.
The council will be “integrated” with the work of the Future Economy Council on the overall upgrading of our economy, Mr Heng said, adding that more details will be announced later.
“In this way, we can marshall all our experiences and expertise to manage the huge changes that are coming our way,” he said.
Watch the full statement: