Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam emphasised the importance of supporting youths entering the workforce.
Jobs have been a concern for many amidst the COVID-19 situation.
The bleak outlook of the world economy, along with the uncertainty of how long COVID-19 will last, means rising unemployment rates will be a challenge for the next year or more.
In a Facebook post on Jun 3, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam outlined the plans to support Singaporeans in the area of jobs and employment.
“We face a major and urgent challenge in the next 6-12 months. Many more people will be at risk of losing their jobs because of COVID-19, even as we gradually lift our circuit-breaker,” wrote Mr Tharman, who chairs the newly formed National Jobs Council. He oversees the efforts to help Singaporeans master skills needed to stay employable in a challenging economy.
“We have to grow jobs, but where people cannot get a job we have to create other opportunities to be at work – temporary jobs, short and long internships, and other forms of training at workplaces. They all give people skills, exposure and experience, that they carry with them into longer-term career opportunities eventually,” he said.
Mr Tharman also stated that the National Jobs Council’s aim is to defend jobs wherever they can, and help people bounce back into work when they lose their jobs.
To do this, the National Jobs Council will work with both private and public sectors to create large numbers of new opportunities for people to be at work and learn at work.
“We aim to create 100,000 such opportunities in the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package that DPM Heng announced in the Fortitude Budget,” said Mr Thaman, adding that this is at a scale beyond what was faced during the Global Financial Crisis or SARS.
Beyond making sure that middle-aged Singaporeans have the skills to remain employable, Mr Tharman also emphasised the importance of supporting youths entering the workforce.
He said: “When young people graduate from their education and find themselves waiting for years to get a serious job – like in many European countries – their hopes and ambitions fall apart.
“No amount of unemployment benefits can compensate for not having a job, and for the social stagnation and loss of optimism about the future that comes when a large segment of the population feels redundant and out of sorts. We must never get there.”
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