Dr Shahira Abdullah: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (a) whether there any initiatives to support youths who are engaged in the unskilled gig economy and who want to move away from it; and (b) if so, what are the current efforts being made to ensure that the youths are aware of these opportunities.
Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law:
- Youths are concerned about their job prospects during this climate of economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Some youths may take on gig roles as these provide flexibility and potentially higher take-home wages in the short-term, compared to other permanent roles currently available.
- While gig roles may help fulfil short-term needs, we encourage and support our youths to take a longer-term perspective in developing their careers. The Government is expanding opportunities for youths to acquire new skills and gain meaningful work experiences, to prepare themselves for their future careers:
a. The National Jobs Council provides a range of jobs and skills training opportunities for jobseekers under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. Specifically, the SGUnited Traineeships Programme and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme offer company-hosted traineeship or attachment opportunities to equip them with industry-relevant experience. They can also acquire new skills through the SGUnited Skills Programme, which offers certifiable courses designed in partnership with industries.
b. Recent graduates from the Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education can consider the various SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes. These programmes allow youths to deepen their skills as they transition into the workforce, through a combination of classroom learning and structured on-the-job-training.
c. The class of 2020 graduates from the Institutes of Higher Learning can upskill by taking up free Continuing Education and Training modules offered by their alma mater. These modules span areas such as hospitality operations, artificial intelligence, business analytics and financial accounting.
d. The Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and NYC launched the YouthTech Programme to equip 1,000 youths with digital skills, and deploy them into the community and social sectors to support digitalisation efforts.
- More generally, for workers in the gig economy, or Self-Employed Persons (SEPs), MOM partnered NTUC to introduce the NTUC Training Fund (SEPs) since April 2020. The Fund has helped to supplement SEPs’ income while they upgrade their skills during the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19. The Government is also working with NTUC-affiliated associations to help SEPs transit out of the gig economy.
- Youths can visit Career Offices in their alma mater, Workforce Singapore’s (WSG’s) Careers Connect Centres or NTUC’s e2i’s career centres to get career and employment-related assistance. WSG’s Career Starter Programme supports graduating and fresh graduates from ITE and polytechnics in boosting their job search skills and employability. Youths may also tap on online career resources through the MySkillsFuture portal and MyCareersFuture digital service.
- The Government will continue to support youths to stay work-ready and acquire new skills. We encourage youths to be proactive in taking up these opportunities.