Mid-career jobseekers encouraged to take on attachments
These mid-career jobseekers plunged into attachments outside their industry to rebuild their careers
She built a 30-year career in the tourism industry, but when her former colleagues lost their jobs overnight, Ms Michelle Wee realised just how vulnerable her line of work was.
So even as cruises started up again last month, the 54-year-old decided to get out of her comfort zone and rejected a contract role at a cruise services company.
Instead, she is now on attachment at Singtel, working with fresh graduates half her age to help small and medium-sized enterprises go digital.
Ms Wee said: "For someone from a non-ICT (information and communications technology) background, the first two weeks were trying.
"Being a more mature worker, I guess I am more flexible, resilient and adaptable to changes. I try to capitalise on my soft skills... as a buffer for the steep learning curve."
In the month since she started her new role, she has found some familiarity in her work. "Instead of promoting travel packages, I'm recommending digital business solutions."
Ms Wee is one of about 430 mid-career jobseekers who have been placed on attachments to about 170 companies under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme since it kicked off in August.
While Manpower Minister Josephine Teo was encouraged that the programme had gained some momentum in the last one to two months, it is "not as fast as we would like", she told reporters after a visit to Singtel with Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday.
In contrast, the SGUnited Traineeships Programme aimed at fresh graduates has placed more than 4,700 people into traineeships since its June launch, and there are talks with the Education Ministry on future plans for the programme.
Unlike with fresh graduates, however, Mrs Teo said it was natural for mid- career jobseekers and their host companies to be more selective and take more time to fill the positions.
Jobseekers also took time to warm up to the idea of attachments, she said, adding: "We are not overly anxious."
For Mr Toby Lim, 27, who joined Singtel on attachment last month after a two-month job search, his stint at the company is a gateway to becoming a proficient cyber-security analyst.
The economics major had left his previous job as a junior systems administrator, which he took on to gain exposure and hands-on experience, in order to get his master's degree.
The hope is that his current role as a security operation and engineer trainee will allow him to apply what he has learnt and further hone his skills.
Ms Wee, who is married with a 21-year-old daughter, had jumped at the opportunity when she chanced upon Singtel's attachment programme on a government jobs portal.
She said: "I told myself that I need to upskill and not be left redundant even if I had to change career paths."