More professionals are switching careers to the pre-school sector, with about 400 people have registered for the Government’s Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) last year. This number represented 40 percent jump in enrolment compared to that in 2015. If the demand continues to grow, the Government plans to expand the capacity for the programme.
Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo at official announcement on Monday (Sept 25) said that the steady upsurge in enrolment figures could be owing to greater awareness towards wide career opportunities in the industry. Every year, PCP initiative for pre-school teachers invites 450 candidates for training to help them make mid-career switch. This number might have to stretch as the Government aims to push up the supply of pre-school places for the next few years.
Mrs Teo said that PCP has helped fulfill 20 percent of the growing manpower needs in early childhood education. Next, it is expected to meet up to 25 percent of the training capacity.
Collaborating with Workforce Singapore agency, there were 400 mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) signing up last year for the programme specified to the pre-school sector, compared with close to 300 in 2015. In total, more than 2,300 PMETs have joined since it was launched in 2009.
The training in this progrmme usually lasts between 8 and 18 months. During this period, trainees are employed by the participating pre-schools and will receive a monthly salary. The majority of participants were in 20s to 40s, with about three-quarters of them having a diploma as their highest educational qualification, Today Online reports.
Referring to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech this year, there would be more than 40,000 places opening up in the pre-school sector in the next five years, along with a set up for new national training institute for early childhood educators. While there are already 16,000 educators in this field, there is a need for another 4,000 more by 2020 to meet the demand for childcare places, Mrs Teo added.
One PMET who is currently enrolling the PCP is Karina Lee, 38, who joined My First Skool at Toa Payoh as an assistant teacher after working in the information technology industry for 17 years. She said that she enjoys working with children and had always wanted to be a pre-school teacher after completing her GCE O-Levels, but was dissuaded by her mother because of the poor career prospects back then.
However, how that she is a mother of three children aged four to eight, pursuing a career in the field would also help her understand the development needs of her own children, Ms Lee said.