$2b package to create 100,000 job and training opportunities for workers hit by Covid-19 slowdown

SINGAPORE – A new $2 billion jobs and training package will create close to 100,000 opportunities for workers affected by the Covid-19 economic slowdown, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (May 26).

He told Parliament in his speech on the fourth budget this year that the support, dubbed the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, would include 40,000 jobs, 25,000 traineeships and 30,000 skills training opportunities.

JOBS

Under the package, said Mr Heng, the public sector will create 15,000 new jobs, including both long-term ones in areas such as early childhood education and healthcare, as well as short-term ones related to Covid-19, such as healthcare declaration assistants and swabbers.

Government agencies will also work with businesses to create 25,000 jobs, he said.

“Many businesses have stepped forward with openings in a wide range of job roles, such as computer engineers and machine operators. I encourage more businesses to do even more in the coming months.”

He said that the Government will expand capacity in career conversion programmes, such as Place-and-Train under the Adapt and Grow Initiative, and company-led training programmes under the TechSkills Accelerator, which was launched in the 2016 Budget.

TRAINEESHIPS

Mr Heng also said the Government aims to create about 25,000 traineeship positions this year.

Of these, 21,000 will come from the SGUnited Traineeships programme, which was announced in March for first-time job seekers and will now be more than doubled. Agency Workforce Singapore will fund training allowances with host companies for up to 12 months.

Mr Heng said that more than 1,000 host companies have shown strong interest, as has the public sector. Many traineeships are in high demand or emerging technology areas such as IT and engineering.

These will be offered progressively from June 1.

Another 4,000 traineeships will come from a new scheme, SGUnited Mid-Career Traineeships, for unemployed mid-career job seekers.

SKILLS

A new initiative, the SGUnited Skills programme, will provide training for about 30,000 job seekers looking to upgrade their skills while on the job hunt.

Participants will get a training allowance of $1,200 per month in the course of their training.

They will take industry-relevant and certifiable training courses full-time at highly subsidised rates, with the course fees substantially, if not fully offset by their SkillsFuture Credit.

They will also get opportunities to apply their training through attachments or participation in company projects, and will also receive career guidance and job placement support.

This programme will be rolled out progressively from July.

HIRING INCENTIVES

Mr Heng said employers will get a hiring incentive to take on local workers who have gone through eligible traineeship and training schemes.

He had earlier announced such an incentive in February under the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package, for eligible workers aged 40 and above.

He will now double the incentive to cover 40 per cent of their salary over six months, capped at $12,000 in total.

The incentive will also be expanded to eligible workers under 40, covering 20 per cent of their monthly salary over six months, capped at $6,000 in total.

Mr Heng has also asked Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to chair a National Jobs Council to oversee the Jobs and Skills Package. The council will provide details later.

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