SGUnited traineeship and attachment schemes benefit 9,500 job seekers

SINGAPORE – Some 9,500 job seekers have participated in two SGUnited schemes that were launched last year to tackle weakened hiring demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Four in five of those taking part in the SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programmes are recent graduates, while the rest are mid-career workers.

As of end-February, about 200 have found full-time employment while still undergoing training under these programmes, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) in a jobs situation report on Monday (April 12). Another 160 have completed the programmes.

The SGUnited Traineeships scheme provides recent graduates or those who will soon graduate with opportunities to gain industry-relevant work experience amid weaker hiring sentiment, while the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme allows mid-career job seekers to gain in-demand skills and widen their professional networks while waiting for permanent jobs.

About 2,500 organisations, including public agencies, have participated in the two schemes by offering traineeships or attachments. Nearly nine in 10 of them are small and medium-sized enterprises.

The top sectors offering these opportunities are infocomm technology and media, financial services and professional services.

In the coming months, another 15,000 traineeship and company attachment opportunities will likely be available, said MOM and WSG, which are expecting continued strong interest from host organisations.

However, as unemployment eases, WSG has started to observe “a moderated pace of applications”.

Nearly half of those who received at least one traineeship or attachment offer turned it down, with fresh graduates more likely than mid-career applicants to do so. The key reason cited was another traineeship or full-time employment opportunity.

Both SGUnited Traineeships and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programmes have since been extended and enhanced.

Firms hosting traineeships and attachments that start before March 31 next year can qualify for financial support. From April 1, the training allowances were raised for Institute of Technical Education and diploma graduates, as well as for mid-career job seekers aged 40 and above.

In a survey of firms whose trainees have ended or are ending their traineeship or attachment by June, 85 per cent have either converted or intend to convert suitable trainees to regular employees.

Firms that have no plans to do so cited reasons such as needing more time to assess trainees, finding a trainee unsuitable and not having available headcount, said a WSG survey earlier this year. There were also trainees who wanted to further their studies.

WSG also observed that 70 per cent of the applications were concentrated on 20 per cent of the vacancies, as applicants focused on prominent organisations and sectors. As a result, many did not secure interview opportunities. Skills mismatch was another reason that host organisations did not follow up with some applicants.

MOM and WSG urged applicants to widen their search and consider lesser-known organisations, and encouraged firms to convert suitable trainees early.

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Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who spoke to the media on Monday after her visit to the Prudential office in Straits View, said there continues to be healthy interest from host organisations and job seekers.

The programmes have given individuals a chance to peek into businesses, sectors and jobs that they had not considered before, she added.

“So it’s also opening up new pathways for them.”

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