Don’t overlook displaced workers, SMF urges Government

March 18, 20159:31 am411 views
Don’t overlook displaced workers, SMF urges Government
Don't overlook displaced workers, SMF urges Government

SINGAPORE: In the ongoing push to get workers to acquire deep skills, the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF) has urged the Government not to overlook displaced workers. This refers to workers who are at risk of becoming unemployable as certain manufacturing activities shift out of Singapore.

SMF said certain segments involved in electronics and metalworks have seen companies shifting out of the country. As a result, workers may be left with outdated skills incompatible with the evolving manufacturing landscape.

“A lot of them do not have a diploma or degree. They work in one particular job for 20 years, 30 years, 40 years, and when the industry phases out, they are left with no job. Or when they change jobs, then they go to unskilled work again, so they start from very low again,” said Mr Sunny Koh, deputy president of the Singapore Manufacturing Federation.

SMF hopes that the Government will help these workers attain relevant skills, through re-training, to make them employable in Singapore’s future manufacturing landscape. It added that these workers would be ready resources to further support the manufacturing sector.

At the same time, SMF has welcomed the move to help mature workers level up with enhanced training subsidies.

Mr Kenneth Koh, 43, a senior manager at JEP Precision Engineering, received a 20 per cent pay raise after completing a Master Craftsmen Programme, supported by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

“It has helped me to build up my confidence in communicating ideas and concepts to my team members. I used to be a hands-on guy, but now I am in the managing role,” said Mr Kenneth Koh, who now leads the entire manufacturing engineering unit at his workplace.

The Government’s enhanced funding support for mature workers – aged 40 and above, who are professionals, managers, executives and technicians – has led to increased subsidies of up to 90 per cent for approved courses.

Mr Kenneth Koh received a Specialist Diploma in Precision Engineering from Nanyang Polytechnic, which cost S$27,200. With the mature worker subsidies, the remaining cost of his diploma would stand at S$2,700, which can be partially covered by the S$500 SkillsFuture Credit Singaporeans are getting.


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