Staying relevant in the workforce among chief concerns of youths

March 7, 20169:38 am713 views

With more companies choosing to move their operations overseas and technological advancements vastly changing the nature of work, many youths are worried if they have the relevant skills to secure a job.

This was one of the concerns brought up in a discussion on Singapore’s future economy on Sunday (Mar 6). It involved about 50 participants from the private and public sectors, the majority of whom are between the ages of 19 and 35.

“We talked a lot about how our workforce would continue to remain relevant in the future,” said participant Tan Shuo Yan. “How do we make sure that we provide a certain level of value add to employers, and why should they continue keeping their jobs in Singapore?”

The 28-year-old project manager at a start-up added: “The future of work is very much the future of learning. As youths, learning does not stop at a defined end point, like getting a university degree, or even getting a Masters.

“At the same time, I think this comes with employers having to be more open to unconventional ways of certification, whether it’s taking a course on Coursera or going out for a vocational attachment, employers accept that there are different forms of learning, so that youths like me have more avenues to prove that they know how to do the job.”

Other topics discussed were how robotics and automation will affect young workers, and how to nurture a more inclusive workforce, where the disabled and elderly can contribute too.

“If you are an older worker, and you have lots of experience and you can contribute to strategy, to thinking about the bigger problem, and the bigger solution, then that’s an area where the elderly can definitely be more included,” shared another participant, 28 year-old economist Neha Prakash Varma.

“This is because automation removes a lot of the physical impediments, and the same can be applied across to differently abled people,” she added.

The session was organised by the National Youth Council, with the theme for the discussion mooted by a group of young people who wanted to explore how they can help the country stay economically vibrant.

One of them is 27 year-old Khairul Rusydi, co-founder and CEO of educational technology company, Reactor. He hopes the session can help youths translate their ideas into reality.

“It’s for them to keep the conversation going, to meet other young people who are also interested or passionate about some of these topics, and then build a team around that,” said Mr Khairul. “Once a team is built, we hope that these participants will continue meeting up, whether formally or informally, to ensure that the project takes off.”

“Many of the youths today will become industry business leaders of tomorrow, and they will be very instrumental in providing solutions to many aspects of life in future, working in tandem with the people and public sectors,” said Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Sim Ann.

“What’s also very encouraging to see is that there is quite a number of public sector employees among the participants, and they’re interested in reaching out, looking at how businesses can complement the people and the public sectors in solving problems,” she added.

“I think having that mindset of reaching out, looking for partners, collaborating for solutions is extremely valuable.”

The session is part of SGfuture, an engagement series to spur Singaporeans to envision their hopes and aspirations for the country.

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