SINGAPORE: About 4,500 jobs and skills opportunities in the social services and early childhood sectors will be made available by this year, announced Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli on Friday (Mar 5). Nearly one-quarter of these opportunities will be for people with disabilities.
“Together, these will put us in good position to actively build resilience in our people and enable them to bounce back from the (COVID-19) crisis even stronger,” said Mr Masagos during the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) Committee of Supply debate.
The opportunities will be available for fresh graduates and mid-career job seekers.
Of the 4,500 opportunities, 1,200 will be in the social service sector. It will include roles such as volunteer managers and traineeships as corporate service executives, social service assistants and programme executives.
There will also be 1,100 opportunities within MSF, the National Council of Social Service and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). These include short-term job opportunities and social service traineeship opportunities. Some long-term job opportunities include volunteer management and outreach for Community Link.
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There will be nearly 1,000 job opportunities in the early childhood sector, including short-term jobs as safe management assistants in pre-schools. Longer-term jobs for mid-career workers include certified early child educators through the Professional Conversion Programme or Place-and-Train Programme for Early Childhood Care and Education.
Job seekers can also apply for KidSTART-related positions such as home visitors and child enabling executives, as part of its expansion.
KidSTART is a programme led by ECDA to help young children from low-income families have a good start in life. The programme supports parents with child development, coordinates support for families where needed, and monitors the developmental progress of children from birth onwards.
For people with disabilities, MSF and SG Enable aim to create 1,200 employment, traineeship and skills upgrading opportunities.
Three new programmes will support 150 opportunities for a start. They are Place-and-Train programmes, Attach-and-Train programmes and Skills Development Programmes.
People with disabilities who participate in these programmes will receive a 90 per cent course fee subsidy, which will provide between six and 12 months of support.
ENCOURAGING CHARITABLE GIVING
Meanwhile, Mr Masagos also noted a five-year initiative called Change for Charity, which aims to encourage individuals to donate through their everyday consumption habits.
The S$20 million Change for Charity grant was announced during this year’s Budget by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Under the initiative, the Government will fork out S$0.50 for every dollar customers donate through participating businesses’ payment platforms.
Customers can donate via conversion of loyalty points to donations, or even direct donations at the point of payment, said Mr Masagos.
And for every dollar that businesses match, the Government will give an additional S$0.50.
Both types of matching will be capped at S$25,000 per business per year. Donations by businesses and customers will be eligible for three years of matching, starting from the year of implementation.
A one-off Enabler grant will subsidise 50 per cent of the cost incurred by businesses when they adopt and enhance the giving capabilities on their payment platforms. This will be capped at S$10,000 per business.
More details on the application process will be provided later.
The Government will also extend the SHARE as One programme until FY2023 to “encourage greater giving”, said Mr Masagos. This programme provides dollar-for-dollar matching for any additional donations to Community Chest’s monthly SHARE programme.
All donations through the SHARE programme go to social service agencies that provide “key social services and programmes” for children with special needs, youth at risk, adults with disabilities, people with mental health conditions, seniors and families, said MSF in a press release.
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INDUSTRY DIGITAL PLAN
To help the early childhood and social service sectors digitalise, MSF and the National Council of Social Service are developing Industry Digital Plans for both sectors.
“They will provide structured frameworks to help pre-schools and Social Service Agencies optimise resources and business processes. This will improve efficiency, support professionals in their work, and raise the quality of services,” said Mr Masagos.