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Jobs Growth Incentive scheme helps single mother secure logistics role weeks after losing F&B job

SINGAPORE — Just weeks after Ms Aretha Chen had to leave her managerial role in the pandemic-battered food and beverage (F&B) industry, she found a new job in logistics — aided by government schemes that subsidised her salary and paid for on-the-job training.

Jobs Growth Incentive scheme helps single mother secure logistics role weeks after losing F&B job

Ms Aretha Chen, 34, picked up a job in the logistics industry just weeks after she was forced to leave her managerial position in the food and beverage sector.

  • Ms Aretha Chen left her F&B job just as the firm closed down
  • Within weeks, she picked up a job in the logistics sector with the aid of the Jobs Growth Incentive
  • Ms Chen underwent on-the-job training to pick up new skills
  • From September to November last year, the scheme aided 130,000 new hires

 

SINGAPORE — Just weeks after Ms Aretha Chen had to leave her managerial role in the pandemic-battered food and beverage (F&B) industry, she found a new job in logistics — aided by government schemes that subsidised her salary and paid for on-the-job training.

When her boss at the F&B chain — which she did not name — told her in June last year that retrenchment was a possibility, the 34-year-old single mother of three started to “feel insecure” about her job.

“Job security is very important, career path is very important, to let my family and children have more (assurance),” said Ms Chen, whose children are aged six, eight and 14.

In December last year, she left her F&B job just as the firm closed down. The same month, she joined YPL, a firm involved in rail freight handling which is part of the Pacific Logistics Group (PLG), as an assistant business development manager.

The quick hiring process might not have been possible if not for the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) Scheme launched in August last year by the authorities, in an effort to encourage hiring amid the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme, extended until September in this year’s Budget, means the Government is co-paying 25 per cent of Ms Chen’s salary in her new job.

Mr Raymond Tan, YPL’s general manager for regional rail freight development, said: “We are trying to reach out through these programmes to engage as much talent in the market as possible, such as in oil and gas, and electronics.”

To pick up new skills relevant to her new sector, Ms Chen enrolled in the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for logistics professionals. This helped to equip her with fundamental knowledge in logistics operation processes and business development.

She said that some skills from her previous F&B role, such as transportation and handling of goods, are also transferable to her new sector, just that it is applied on a larger scale.

In her new role, Ms Chen oversees movement of cargo on freight trains within and between China and Europe, and has to be in touch with various parties overseas. She said that she earns a salary “comparable” to that in her previous role.

130,000 LOCALS HIRED THROUGH JGI

From September to November last year, 130,000 locals were hired through JGI, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a statement. In logistics alone, JGI supported 4,000 hires.

Figures after November, taking in the period Ms Chen secured her job, are not yet available.

“Sometimes (employers) may think that it would be faster to bring onboard someone who knows the job inside out,” Manpower Minister Josephine Teo during a visit to the PLG Building at Tuas South on Wednesday (March 31).

“On the other hand, some employers including PLG accept that if you have any useful experience in any way that they can build on, they can provide you with on the job training… and as a result they are able to bring you on board.”

Under the JGI, the Government will co-pay 25 per cent of the first S$5,000 of a local hire’s gross monthly wages for 12 months.

For workers aged 40 and above, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders, the period will be 18 months, and employers will receive co-payment of up to 50 per cent for the first S$6,000 for 18 months.

MOM provided other updated figures on the JGI:

  • From September to November last year, 27,000 eligible employers hired a median of two locals. This is higher than the median of one local hired in the same period in 2019. “That suggests to us that at least for these companies that are enjoying the JGI support, it is helping them to boost their local hiring,” said Mrs Teo

  • About six in 10 of these employers hired one to two local workers, while the remaining hired more than two, and 99 per cent of these employers are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

MOM also provided a breakdown of hires in different sectors:

  • Close to four in 10 of the 130,000 hires were in growth sectors such as wholesale trade, professional services, and information and communications

  • There were 9,350 hires in professional services and 7,420 hires in the information and communications sector

  • For wholesale trade, more than half the new hires were aged 40 and above, accounting for 5,610 out of the 10,660 hires in the sector

  • The scheme also supported the rebound of the food services and retail sector

  • The food services sector accounted for 21,420 new hires, while 7,830 were in the retail sector

Of the 130,000 new hires:

  • About half of them were not employed at the point of hire, and over a quarter had been out of work for more than six months

  • Six in 10 were previously employed in a different sector. To help employers defray the costs of reskilling new hires with skill gaps, WSG’s PCP programmes provide wage and training support of up to 90 per cent

  • About six in 10 new hires earned the same or higher wages as compared to their previous roles

  • Close to half are aged 40 and above, and a third are aged 50 and above. Firms hiring seniors can tap additional support such as the Senior Work Early Adopter Grant and the Part-Time Re-employment Grant

As unemployment rates have been declining since October last year, MOM said that employers should be open minded towards jobseekers from diverse backgrounds.

“This will better enable them to fill their vacancies and support their businesses,” MOM said.

Related topics

Jobs MOM Jobs Growth Incentive Josephine Teo

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