ITE grads in demand as SMEs face labour crunch

ITE grads in demand as SMEs face labour crunch
Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck chatting with ITE students at the second annual Asme Forum at ITE College East.

SINGAPORE - Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are stepping up efforts to recruit Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates in a bid to combat the manpower squeeze.

The aim is to place some 300 with local companies every year over the next five years, said Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck on Wednesday.

The job-matching, which is part of Spring Singapore's SME Talent Programme, has sent 32 polytechnic and ITE students to 15 firms since it was launched in June.

Seven trade associations and chambers have also reached out to more than 1,600 students to apply for jobs such as retail associates, clerks and technicians. Employers are eager for more.

"ITE can provide a big base of manpower for us. Their training in areas such as electronics is more focused towards SME needs," said Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (Asme) president Chan Chong Beng at the second annual Asme Forum at ITE College East.

The day-long event, which featured an exhibition of 31 company booths, hoped to reverse a long-standing trend of young Singaporeans shying away from local companies.

"Many have the misconception that SMEs are small companies and there is no future working for them," said Mr Chan.

Added forum chairman Irene Boey: "We started the forum because we saw that SMEs were having a hard time recruiting people.

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