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SGUnited Traineeship Programme to end in March 2022 as participation drops, economy recovers: Koh Poh Koon

SINGAPORE — The SGUnited Traineeships Programme will not be extended when it expires later this month, as participation has been falling with the economy recovering from the pandemic, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, said on Friday (March 4).

The latest move to cease traineeships follows an improvement to the hiring of fresh graduates last year.
The latest move to cease traineeships follows an improvement to the hiring of fresh graduates last year.
  • The SGUnited Traineeships Programme was introduced in March 2020 to help fresh graduates find paid trainee opportunities amid a Covid-19-hit labour market
  • Senior Minister of State for Manpower Koh Poh Koon said that fewer graduates have signed on now that the economy is recovering
  • Eligible new graduates can still apply for any remaining traineeship opportunity, which must commence by March 31 this year

SINGAPORE — The SGUnited Traineeships Programme will not be extended when it expires later this month, as participation has been falling with the economy recovering from the pandemic, Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State for Manpower, said on Friday (March 4).

The programme, introduced in March 2020, provides graduates of polytechnics, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), universities and other educational institutes with paid traineeship opportunities amid a weak labour market battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Training allowances under the programme are co-funded by the Government, with host companies needing only to pay 20 per cent of the allowance.

“With the economy recovering, fewer graduates are participating in the scheme. But current trainees will be supported to the end of their traineeships,” said Dr Koh in Parliament during a debate on the Manpower Ministry’s budget.

Eligible new graduates can still apply for any remaining traineeship opportunity, which must commence by March 31 this year, according to the website of the agency that oversees the programme, Workforce Singapore.

In response to TODAY’s queries, Workforce Singapore said that more than 11,700 fresh graduates had been accepted into the programme as of December last year. 

The agency did not say how many of them were converted to permanent employees at their host companies.

But a spokesman pointed to results of a survey conducted with trainees who have completed the programme as of December last year, where close to eight in 10 said they were hired by the host organisation or found jobs elsewhere.

For trainees who were not converted into permanent staff, Workforce Singapore said that the top reasons employers gave were that the trainees were not suitable and that the organisation had a lack of headcount for new hires. 

In March 2021, the Government extended the programme by another year, with the training allowances enhanced for certain groups.

The latest move to cease traineeships follows an improvement to the hiring of fresh graduates last year.

Recent results of the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey found that 84 per cent of fresh graduates found permanent full-time employment within half a year after their final exams in 2021, up from 69.8 per cent the year before.

Dr Koh did not announce any new schemes on Monday to replace the SGUnited Traineeship Programme when it expires.

However, he announced changes to various initiatives that the Government has been extending to support other groups of local workers.

Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) extended to Sept 2022:

  • The JGI, which supports employers to expand local hiring, will be extended by another six months to Sept 2022
  • Support will be offered only for the hiring of three segments of workers: Mature workers aged 40 and above who have not been in work for at least six months, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders
  • Wage support will be tapered from 40 per cent of first S$6,000 for first six months; to 20 per cent of first S$6,000 for the subsequent six months
  • To qualify, firms must increase from March its overall local workforce size and number of local workers earning at least S$1,400 per month

SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme retained for mature workers: 

  • This programme offers paid attachment opportunities for mid-career individuals
  • The programme will be retained only for mature workers aged 40 and above
  • Monthly training allowance offered is between S$1,800 and S$3,800
  • Government support will decrease from 90 per cent to 70 per cent of the monthly allowance, with the host company funding the remaining 30 per cent

Related topics

Koh Poh Koon MOM SGUnited Traineeships Programme

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