Singapore–Education Minister and MP for Sembawang Mr Ong Ye Kung on an episode of “MP Say What” talked about the kind of opportunities that the Class of 2020 graduates can take up to make use of their time during this Covid-19 period.
He urges that if finding work is difficult, these graduates should “look at other alternatives”. One alternative that he mentioned is the SGUnited Traineeships Programme that MOE set up. He also suggested taking up courses so that graduates can “delay [their] entry into the labour market”. Admissions are open during the period of June, July and August and they last for 3-6 months. “You finished with a post-diploma or post-graduate certificate which is useful,” he said.
He also stated that if the graduates have “some time”, they could also consider doing charity work or voluntary work which he thinks would “also help [them] learn and make [them] a better person”.
In regards to having enough opportunities, he said, “Everywhere you go now, there are not going to be enough positions and vacancies for all the jobseekers”. The National Jobs Councils, led by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam was created to reach out to organisations, enterprises and businesses to create 100,000 jobs and traineeships.
Schools and universities have been “sending people overseas” and having more “project work” to increase employability as according to Mr Ong, employers now seek workers who possess a “world view” and to be able to “work in teams”. These, as he said, are the “new essential critical skills” that students have to equip themselves with to stay competitive in the job market.
Similarly, he also stated that students now “cannot just graduate with a good diploma or degree and expect it to last your whole life.” “You have to keep learning your whole life,” he said. To continually improve oneself is to build a strong “foundation” such as acquiring inter-disciplinary learning across schools and faculties and to “be able to synergise them” to be more employable.
In answering a question on what advice to be given to the Class of 2020, he stated that “some people think very suay, come into the labour market during Covid-10, very suay. Don’t think about that.” However, he said that this is “just a temporary setback” and that they have their “whole life to continue to learn” and “search for [their] passion” and realise “[their] aspirations”. -/TISG