ABOUT 3,300 security supervisors face a "serious risk" of being demoted if they do not attend a compulsory course within the next three months, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) warned yesterday.
Assistant secretary-general Zainal Sapari said in a blog post that ground feedback showed that "many security supervisors are unwilling to attend skills upgrading courses... despite their lack of the necessary skills qualifications to perform roles with greater responsibilities".
The Sept 11 attacks in 2001 in the United States "led to a huge increase in demand for more professional security services", noted Mr Sapari.
In Singapore, "tremendous efforts have been made to inject greater professionalism into the industry", he added.
One measure is the implementation of a new wage ladder. Come Sept 1, the minimum monthly basic wages of security supervisors will rise to $1,500 from the current market rate of about $1,200.
To encourage sign-ups, Mr Sapari noted that the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department, which certifies security officers, had written to those who have yet to fulfill the necessary requirements to keep or upgrade their posts.
The Singapore Workforce Development Agency has also introduced "flexible training delivery such as weekend classes, bite-sized modules and on-site training", he added.
Currently, supervisors make up about 10 to 20 per cent of the 33,000-strong security sector.
To qualify as a supervisor under the new legislation, one must have at least two years' experience as a senior security officer. They must also complete one compulsory module and at least two other recommended ones under the Workforce Skills Qualifications framework.
Each module needs between 22 and 34 hours but experienced officers can opt to take only the assessment.
Force-One Security's director Lorraine Lim said the change is "making companies rethink their needs, based on their contracts".
"Some companies may deploy current supervisors to be senior officers instead," she added.
Five security firms interviewed said that they are on their way to meeting the new requirements.
Aero Asia Security's Selvakumar said the manpower shortage is a challenge.
"It's hard to find a replacement when a supervisor is on course. There are only so many in the market," added the general manager.
Security supervisor Chan TH, 53, expects to complete the modules by next month.
"It was hard for me to go for classes because I had not attended lessons for a very long time.
"It was hard for me to concentrate," he noted.
"But I am glad I am about to finish because I am looking forward to the higher pay."
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