Singapore launches initiative to bolster retrenched employees’ skills

Skill enhancement support unveiled by Singapore’s government aids retrenched employees, fostering long-term career preparedness.
By: | August 22, 2023

Singapore’s government has unveiled a new programme designed to support employees facing retrenchment by offering temporary financial assistance to help them focus on upgrading their skills. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the initiative during the National Day Rally, highlighting its aim to empower retrenched employees to undertake skills courses and prepare for long-term employment.

The programme seeks to provide a safety net, allowing retrenched individuals to cover immediate needs while dedicating time to upskilling. Lee emphasised the government’s commitment to aiding those willing to put in the effort and ensure their sustained success.

While specific details of the scheme are being refined, Lee indicated that they would be disclosed following the conclusion of the Forward Singapore public consultation. A comprehensive report detailing the scheme’s mechanics is anticipated later this year.

Speaking about the broader context, Lee highlighted the increasing job opportunities emerging in new economic sectors, particularly in the digital domain. He acknowledged concerns over adapting to evolving trends and potential technological displacement.

He said, “We can certainly expect more job disruptions. More employees will be affected by such disruptions and may lose their jobs several times throughout their careers.”

The initiative addresses challenges faced by retrenched employees, helping them regain confidence and professional direction through skill enhancement. The government has already initiated efforts to aid skills development and career shifts through programmes like Workforce Singapore’s career conversion initiatives and job search support.

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Lee’s announcement followed feedback from jobseekers during the Forward Singapore exercise, underscoring the need for supportive measures during job transitions. This initiative builds upon recommendations made in 2021 for financial assistance to professionals navigating retrenchment and upskilling.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong previously hinted at the scheme’s development, indicating its place within a comprehensive strategy to elevate employees to higher-value roles with improved growth and remuneration prospects, reported Straits Times.