9,500 have taken up SGUnited traineeships and attachments

Another 15,000 opportunities will likely be available in coming months: MOM, WSG

Some 7,600 recent graduates have taken part in the SGUnited Traineeships programme, while another 1,900 mid-career workers have participated in company attachments under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme.

The two schemes were launched last year to tackle weakened hiring demand caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As at end-February, about 200 have found full-time employment while still undergoing these programmes, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) in a jobs situation report yesterday. Another 160 have completed the programmes.

The SGUnited Traineeships programme provides recent graduates and those who will soon graduate with opportunities to gain industry-relevant work experience, while the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme allows mid-career job seekers to gain skills and widen their professional networks while awaiting permanent jobs.

About 2,500 organisations, including public agencies, have participated in the two schemes by offering traineeships or attachments. Nearly nine in 10 of them are small and medium-sized enterprises.

The top sectors offering these opportunities are infocomm technology and media, financial services and professional services.

In the coming months, another 15,000 traineeship and company attachment opportunities will likely be available, said MOM and WSG.

But as unemployment eases, WSG has started to observe "a moderated pace of applications". Nearly half of those who received at least one traineeship or attachment offer turned it down, with fresh graduates more likely than mid-career applicants to do so, it added. The key reason cited was another traineeship or full-time employment opportunity.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said there continues to be interest from host organisations and job seekers.

"Trainees are given meaningful work exposure while host companies get to have more time to assess candidates for regular employment opportunities," she said.

Through the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways programme, Prudential operational excellence (data testing) trainee Jonathan Cai was able to take on a one-year attachment in October.

The 38-year-old had spent 10 years in Australia, including three years working concurrently at two hospitality start-ups. But when the pandemic struck, he quit his job as a business improvement and operations manager and returned to Singapore in March last year.

While he initially struggled with the technical jargon used in his current system development work, Mr Cai was guided by supportive colleagues.

"I am thankful for this opportunity to try out a new role, and my colleagues have helped make sure I pick up new skills," he said.

Singapore National Employers Federation executive director Sim Gim Guan said: "The trainees, having acquired industry-relevant experience and skills, will have a better chance of securing full-time employment. They also constitute a ready source of talent for other employers hiring."

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.