International Business & Economy Heng Swee Keat: S'pore has avoided spike in layoffs because of support...

Heng Swee Keat: S’pore has avoided spike in layoffs because of support measures

Job-seekers urged to keep an open mind and embrace the spirit of learning

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Singapore — The country has managed to avoid a spike in layoffs because of the support measures in the recent four Budgets, according to Mr Heng Swee Keat, the Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for Economic Policies.

Mr Heng took to Facebook on Wednesday evening to share his thoughts on the problem of unemployment in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day, he had visited the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre in the Kampong Chai Chee Community Club, where he met job-seekers and Workforce Singapore (WSG) career ambassadors, in order to gain insights as to what the work force needs as well as what particular challenges are being faced by workers. With him were Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How.

This morning, I visited the #SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centre at Kampong Chai Chee CC @ HeartbeatBedok with Minister…

Posted by Heng Swee Keat on Wednesday, 29 July 2020

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Mr Heng said in his Facebook post: “The latest employment numbers show that the impact of Covid-19 on the labour market has deepened.” However, he noted that Singapore had “avoided a spike in unemployment because of the support measures provided over the four Budgets”.

He then cited the work of the National Jobs Council, which has partnered with various industries as well as NTUC Singapore in order to create jobs, traineeships and skills training opportunities under the Jobs and Skills Package.

“We have made good progress,” said Mr Heng. “So far, 18,000 job placements have been completed through the SGUnited Jobs Initiative. Another 65,000 jobs, traineeship and training places have also been committed.”

Giving some examples of the support given by various companies, he said: “6,400 companies have expressed interest to host over 35,000 traineeships. This is more than what we have expected, and we will be opening up the traineeships to mid-career individuals. This will provide more options for our job-seekers and companies, and improve their chances of finding good job matches when the eventual upswing happens.”

As Singapore moves forward and aims to gain back the economic ground it lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Heng called for companies fairing well to utilise the tools provided by the Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs) in order to expand and be able to hire more employees.

“And I encourage job-seekers to keep an open mind and embrace the spirit of learning,” he said. “By working together, we can emerge stronger as an economy and as one people.” /TISG

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