How to Upgrade Skills and Defeat Unemployment in the Growing Singapore Economy

How to Upgrade Skills and Defeat Unemployment in the Growing Singapore Economy

Like it or not, experts across the world have forecast grim employment outlooks for the coming years. In a bid to curb the menace of joblessness as much as possible, countries worldwide are pitching in efforts and initiatives to ensure that unemployment rates do not jump, or jump as low as possible. Setting an example is the Singaporean government.

The country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has already got plans up its sleeve to ensure that its populations – especially the millennials do not fall prey to the unemployment fears. In an address to the outgoing students of the Republic Polytechnic (RP), Lim Swee Say, Minister of Manpower was quoted saying that unemployment would rise in future but not because of jobs shortage, but due to shortage of skills.

Taking cue from that sentiment the ministry and government are working in tandem to develop and implement programs which focus on skill development. It is already apparent that with the fast and continuous evolution of technology, job demands are constantly transforming simultaneously.

In order to keep pace, it has become mandatory and necessary for the government to execute investment towards training and retraining in jobs. This is necessitated so that the revised skill-sets are able to meet the ever-changing job demands.

Lim Swee Say stressed that students and fresh graduates need to alter their outlooks towards jobs and the process of job creation. He emphasized that there is a need to view technology as a tool for job creation, and not as competition or threat. He further added that the future is technology-driven and so maximum number of jobs are most likely to get generated from sectors and industries such as data analytics, cyber security and robotisation engineering.

In his May Day speech, he articulated a warning that unemployment is likely to rise. And in the cycle of jobs-of-today disappearing and jobs-of-tomorrow being created, a significant redistribution of jobs is most certainly going to occur. As this phenomenon unfolds, he said, small countries would experience net gains, and some would suffer net losses. He clarified that Singapore there is no choice but to be amongst “the winners, not losers."

Going by the existing trends looming across Singapore, it is clear that the country does not only want to its academia population to educate itself. There is increasing endorsement to unraveling students to work environments of the real world, in the process. The country is preparing itself to provide for education and training in equal measure.

The focus of the initiative is to make sure that skill-development is given the highest priority. Mr. Lim also talked about how the traits of Singapore workforce are no longer dependent on attributes such as competence and capability. Now, it is all about passion and adaptability as well, he added.

At the ceremony which was staged on 3 May, pioneers from two programs received accolades. The programs were the diploma in human resource management with psychology (DHRMP) and the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP). Interestingly, both programs top rankers.

The main idea behind this initiative is to be able to meticulously bridge the gap between learning theory and applying the same through practice. This endeavor helps students grasp and adapt to skills much faster, quoted Ms Beatrice Tan, program chair of the DHRMP course. She went on to also say that “"Employment is based on someone's ability to solve problems. Technology can become outdated, but the ability to solve problems will always be required." These endeavors on part of the Singapore government depict its seriousness to towards keeping its workforce employed and highly skilled.

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