S'pore masterplan for training workers up for review

The Government is embarking on a major review of a 10-year masterplan drawn up in 2008 to train workers to keep pace with economic change.

Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said yesterday that a review of the Continuing Education and Training (CET) masterplan is timely.

It comes as Singapore seeks to transform its economy and also help citizens fulfil their aspirations, he said.

"We also seek to better anticipate some of the future challenges and uncertainties faced by our companies and workforce," he added.

One challenge is to ensure that mature professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) remain relevant to the industry even when businesses restructure, he said.

Mr Tan was speaking at the graduation ceremony of the first batch of Singaporeans who took part in a scheme that matches local talent with small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Max Talent programme was launched in April last year by the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

It targets PMEs working in multinational corporations and those who have been retrenched.

The programme has since placed more than 530 Singaporean PMEs with local businesses.

The current CET masterplan, launched five years ago, was aimed at developing infrastructure that will encourage workers to embrace lifelong learning, stay relevant and seize opportunities in new growth sectors.

Through the masterplan, infrastructure was expanded to make training and employment services more accessible, said a Singapore Workforce Development Agency spokesman.

Funding was also offered for employers to train workers and raise productivity.

By the end of next year, two national CET campuses that can train up to 50,000 workers annually will be ready.

Mr Tan said further consultation on the masterplan will be carried out in the months ahead, and details will hopefully be shared towards the end of next year.

Mr Gilbert Tan, chief executive of the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), suggested that the masterplan provide differentiated support for groups that require more help, such as the low-wage or mature workers.

The e2i was set up by the National Trades Union Congress to train workers, conduct job searches and offer career guidance.

"With the tight labour market and Singapore being a high-cost city in a low-cost region, we need to help our workers remain productive with strong foundations, to pick up future-ready skills to respond to changing industries, technologies and skill needs," said e2i's Mr Tan.


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