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Government ramps up reskilling efforts for sectors hardest hit by COVID-19

Government ramps up reskilling efforts for sectors hardest hit by COVID-19

Marina Square mall. (Photo: TODAY/Kenneth Cheng)

SINGAPORE: Workforce Singapore (WSG) will open up more than 2,000 training places under its Adapt & Grow initiative to support five sectors hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Adapt & Grow programme is designed to help Singaporeans amid the global economic uncertainties and structural changes to the labour market by placing them in new jobs either in a different company or within the same one. Employers who participate in the programme receive wage subsidies and training support.

There will be new place-and-train programmes for rank-and-file roles in retail and food services businesses, as well as a professional conversion programme (PCP) in digital operations for mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in the furniture industry, the agency said on Thursday (Mar 12).

Similar programmes to assist those in the aviation and tourism sectors were announced earlier this year. 

Aside from helping industries directly affected by COVID-19, WSG is also launching a three-month long redeployment programme for rank-and-file supply chain and logistics coordinators to encourage workers to take advantage of the economic lull and prepare themselves for industry disruptions.

The programme was developed by WSG, the Singapore Economic Development Board, Enterprise Singapore and the Supply chain and Logistics Academy to reskill existing workers to take on enhanced or redesigned roles. 

READ: Enhanced training assistance for low-wage, self-employed people to improve career prospects

This redeployment programme comes alongside other PCPs already available for supply chain and logistics sector.

More than 2,600 workers are expected to benefit from WSG’s programmes and support measures for the supply chain and logistics sector as well as sectors directly affected by COVID-19.

Companies that sign up workers who are citizens aged 40 and above for the Adapt & Grow schemes will receive 90 per cent salary support from April, up from 70 per cent, WSG said. The maximum salary support duration for some of the programme will be extended to six months as well.

WSG’s support measures are part of the S$4 billion Stabilisation and Support Package that was announced in Budget 2020.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said these support measures are aimed at preventing large-scale job losses amid the economic uncertainty. 

“During such times when business is not exactly booming, what can you do with the time that the workers have? Probably a better use of their time is to put into training,” she said during a visit to ST Logistics ahead of the announcements on Tuesday.  

She acknowledged that it is tough for employers to be thinking about training their employees when they have cost and cash flow pressures to grapple with.

“(But) it is the smarter thing to do because when the recovery comes you want to be able to catch it quite quickly,” she said. 

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Source: CNA/rp


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