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Jobs bank will allow users to plan careers, find upgrading chances

SINGAPORE — The national jobs bank to be launched in the middle of the year will eventually be part of an integrated online system, which will allow users to plan their careers and look for upgrading opportunities.

SINGAPORE — The national jobs bank to be launched in the middle of the year will eventually be part of an integrated online system, which will allow users to plan their careers and look for upgrading opportunities.

In time, the system could potentially be extended to secondary school students to help them get a head-start in life, said Workforce Development Agency’s (WDA) Chief Executive Ng Cher Pong in an interview on Tuesday.

Last year, the Fair Consideration Framework was announced by the Manpower Ministry, which will from August require firms to post vacancies on a national jobs bank and hire qualified Singaporeans first.

The advertisements must run for 14 days before companies can apply to hire foreign workers, and only if no local workers were found to be suitable for the job. The WDA said initial feedback from trials of the online jobs bank, involving hundreds of firms and individuals, has been positive.

Eventually, the aim is to have schools tap on the jobs bank as a tool for career guidance efforts.

“Some of these career planning and strength-finding instruments are helpful for students in making educational choices as well,” said Mr Ng.

This national jobs bank will also become part of an integrated system called Individual Learning Portfolio, which is a one-stop online portal that helps users make informed choices on jobs and training opportunities. The portal is being piloted for a year and has involved about 18,000 people to date.

Its participants are mainly adults, but the WDA is working with the Ministry of Education to involve students from junior colleges, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education for the trial.

When the trial phase ends, the portal will be reviewed and the online platform refined before the entire system is rolled out nationwide.

Beyond that, the WDA is keen on working with firms to introduce on-the-job training programmes similar to apprenticeship schemes seen in Europe.

There will also be a focus on efforts to promote lifelong learning, and that is where e-learning comes in. The WDA said it will make use of online platforms to help firms facing manpower shortages remain productive, without neglecting staff development.

It will also place a greater emphasis on helping professionals, managers and executives, given that they are expected to comprise half the workforce by 2020, up from 31 per cent in 2012.

The WDA added that an ongoing review of the Government’s Continuing Education and Training Master Plan will look into managing a labour force that is “hollowing out” in certain industries where machines are changing the labour landscape increasingly.

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