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Measures to boost careers of Singaporeans in their 40s and 50s

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Manpower Minister announces measures to help those in their 40s and 50s amid virus outbreak

A concerted push is under way to ensure Singaporeans in their 40s and 50s can progress in their careers and access fair opportunities.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo yesterday detailed measures to help this group, amid a backdrop of uncertainty brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.

The outbreak would make it harder to keep unemployment down to the low levels of recent years.

The Government's first priority is to prevent large-scale job losses and a reversal of salary increases for low-wage workers.

"These unfavourable conditions demand a united response from all of us," said Mrs Teo.

At the same time, it must not neglect future challenges, she added.

Mrs Teo said the Government is investing about $1 billion to boost the employment prospects of Singaporeans over the next five years, through the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package, SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit and enhanced Productivity Solutions Grant.

"They are a clear commitment to ensure Singaporeans have fair opportunities to progress at every stage of their working lives," she said.

She added that more than half of the 31,000 job seekers placed in jobs last year through the Adapt and Grow initiative were aged 40 and above, and nearly a third were aged 50 and above.

The share is even higher for rank-and-file workers.

Mid-career workers are being supported to close the skills gap. Since 2016, place-and-train schemes such as professional conversion programmes have helped nearly 14,500 Singaporeans, she added.

In the past two years, more than 2,000 professionals, managers, executives and technicians were also reskilled and redeployed within the same companies before they could become redundant, she said in response to Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC).

The ministry aims to double the number of mid-career workers who enter new jobs through reskilling programmes to around 5,500 by 2025, she added.


Mrs Teo said the Government will also ramp up train-and-place programmes, which do not require employers to commit to hiring trainees upfront, but equip participants with in-demand skills.

Participants receive full salaries or allowances while they reskill.

From April 1, the Government will raise salary subsidies for all workers aged 40 and above on place-and-train programmes to 90 per cent, up from 70 per cent.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing also acknowledged the concerns of mid-career workers during the debate on his ministry's budget yesterday.

He urged tripartite cooperation in this area, with businesses offering more employment and upgrading opportunities, workers making an effort to reskill, and the Government supporting both groups.