1,500 recruits complete training to become swabbers
When she heard about the recruitment drive for Covid-19 swabbers, Miss Nur Rafiqah knew it was a stepping stone to her ambition of becoming a nurse.
The 22-year-old Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East nursing graduate left her role as a temperature screener at Changi Airport and applied to work as a swabber.
Like Miss Rafiqah, people from all walks of life have responded to the Ministry of Health's recruitment drive for Covid-19 swabbers and other healthcare roles.
Various training courses have been conducted, including one at ITE College East, which saw more than 200 trainees last week.
The Health Promotion Board said that as of yesterday, 1,500 recruits had completed the training and are deployed or pending deployment as swabbers, swabbing assistants, operations support and site supervisors.
Mr Abdul Mateen, 27, had been searching for a job for the past two months after the enrichment centre he worked at closed during the circuit breaker.
He applied for several jobs through a virtual career fair but did not receive any response.
Said the former branch manager: "At that point, I was open to any form of work."
When he learnt about the recruitment for swabbers, he thought it was a good opportunity.
Mr Abdul knew, however, that the job may affect his wife's family, whom he lives with.
"I understood this was not a normal job and since I was living with them, I let them decide if they were okay with me working as a swabber."
Miss Rafiqah, who lives with seven family members, said: "My family was worried at first, but they understood nursing is something I have always wanted to do.
"There is a risk of bringing the virus home, but I will ensure I do my part and know the safety steps well."
The job, offered on a short-term contract, pays up to $3,800 a month and does not require prior healthcare experience.
Miss Rafiqah said she initially received about $3,000 a month as a temperature screener, but the amount was reduced to around $1,700 after her shifts were reduced due to less activity at the airport.
She will now get $3,400 as a swab assistant.
About 1,500 people are needed to fill these roles, HPB told The New Paper.
Successful applicants will be deployed at places such as community recovery facilities, quarantine facilities and nursing homes. They begin as swab assistants and may eventually administer swab procedures themselves or assist in other roles.
The recruitment drive was shared on Facebook by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin, who said this was part of an effort to create more new jobs.