Singapore GE2020: Community job fairs rolled out to help workers find jobs near them, says PAP's Ng Chee Meng

SINGAPORE – Community job fairs are among measures rolled out by the Government to help Singaporeans tide through challenges thrown up by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Such fairs have been held in Punggol, Sengkang, Hougang, Jurong and West Coast since this month to allow workers to browse for job opportunities that are as close as 3km from where they live, said labour chief Ng Chee Meng on Wednesday (July 8).

Mr Ng was speaking during a press conference held at the People’s Action Party (PAP) headquarters, which was also attended by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee. Mr Chan gave an overview of the outlook for Singapore’s economy, while Mr Ng talked about jobs and Mr Lee outlined plans to help the vulnerable.

Mr Chan noted that the International Monetary Fund estimates that all major economies will be in “a recessionary mode” this year.

Mr Ng, the secretary-general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said workers are aware of the headwinds ahead. The impact on workers across different ages and industries is quite extensive, he said, adding that further retrenchments can be expected even in more resilient industries.

“We are looking at how to position the workers in the best possible way so that they can either hold on to their jobs, or when they are displaced, to be matched to a new job.”

Giving an update on the 100,000 jobs, traineeships and skills training opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package unveiled in May, Mr Ng said 12,000 job placements have been matched under the initiative so far. Almost 70 per cent of these placements were in the public sector, including areas related to Covid-10 such as healthcare.

Mr Ng said that 16,000 opportunities were available at a job fair at the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) last Friday. These opportunities comprised 7,000 job vacancies, 3,000 traineeship positions, and 6,000 training opportunities.

“Even in the… hustings, we were working hard to take care for the workers,” said Mr Ng, who is leading a PAP team to contest Sengkang GRC in the election.

The Ministry of Education, SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore are working with e2i to provide courses for workers who are willing to improve themselves, he said.

He noted that the Government has provided up to $1,500 in SkillsFuture credits for those aged 40 and above. Under the NTUC’s Enhanced Union Training Assistance Programme, union members aged 40 and above will get increased funding support for course fees, from $250 to $500 till the end of 2022.

Mr Ng said: “For the workers who may be anxious, do step forward to seek this assistance and we will give you the best welfare we know of, and that is a job.”

“We don’t make empty promises, we don’t sweet-talk you, but also give you the realities (and) the accompanying support to make sure you’re taken care of,” he added.

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