TL;DR – Pssst! It’s free for fresh grads, free for mid-career switches, free for mature workers, so long as you’re Singaporean!
I came across an article in Zaobao today about the life and work of a Principal Career Coach with Workforce Singapore (WSG) and thought it might be useful if more people understand better what WSG and its career coaches can do.
Given the current economic climate we’ve now and more retrenchment news expected in the coming months, more Singaporeans are likely to need more help in terms of upskilling, reskilling and with finding new employment. So let’s start by finding out what WSG career coaches do, and then we can also look at what WSG can help Singaporeans with and where to seek them out for help.
First things first, let me translate the Zaobao article.
Original in Chinese: Chen Keyang / Zaobao
Guiding Jobseekers to Steer their Career Paths
Geraldine Chua (Cai Shujun) said, “Being a medical social worker made me realise that my personal value is in helping others… So when I saw an opening for a career coach, I decided to take a shot at it.”
Geraldine Chua (38) graduated at a time when SARS “erupted” and there weren’t many openings or opportunities for the jobs that ranked tops in her mind. So she shifted her focus towards the medical and healthcare sector. She worked as a medical intern for a full year before she was confirmed as a full-time staff.
Geraldine, who is now a Principal Career Coach at WSG’s Careers Connect, said this as she recalled the period just after she’d graduated,
“Becoming a medical social worker was the best decision ever. It changed my life and paved the way for me to become a career coach.”
She could still recall the challenges her family had to face when her father lost his job during the Asian Financial Crisis. And then after graduation, she had to face limited employment opportunities and options due to SARS. “”Being a medical social worker made me realise that my personal value is in helping others… So when I saw an opening for a career coach, I decided to take a shot at it.”
Over the past three years, WSG has seen increases in the number of local residents who have sought out its career matching services. Some 10,000 local residents found jobs through its career matching services in the first half of this year.
Amongst these jobseekers were also helped and supported by career coaches like Geraldine. She said,
“We’ve helped Singaporean jobseekers from all walks of life, so there’s no one single solution that fits everyone. Every career has a story. Most jobseekers are willing to work with us, but there are also those who experience anxiety or are even depressed…. We then have to try our best to understand and empathise, and help to relieve and remove their worries.”
The current COVID-19 situation has hit the economy hard, and it’s showing in the job market for sure. Some companies have closed, some are cutting back on operations or even retrenching workers, and fewer companies are recruiting.
Geraldine pointed out that a jobseeker’s positive attitude can rub off others and can even energise a team. This can improve the jobseeker’s chances during interviews. She said,
“Employers are happy to see adaptable workers who are keen to learn new things. A good and proactive attitude towards learning can facilitate the jobseekers in picking up new knowledge and skills more quickly, and can help them find the right directions amidst changes or even chaos in life.”
So there, now that we’ve gotten to know some tips from Geraldine the career coach, let’s move on to where jobseekers can go to get more help.
Where to go for help
Careers Connect by Workforce Singapore (WSG)
Workforce Singapore (WSG) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). It oversees the transformation of the local workforce and industry to meet ongoing economic challenges.
Or to put it simply, it’s everything that’s got to do with developing the workforce in Singapore to ensure our people remains employable (i.e. have the necessary skills, soft and hard, to meet today’s and tomorrow’s economic needs.
WSG wants to ensure that all the important sectors and pillars in our economy are supported by a strong, inclusive Singaporean core.
So from the perspectives of us, the everyday Singaporeans’, I suppose we can imagine WSG to be the stat board that helps us meet our career aspirations and secure quality jobs at different stages of our lives. This last part is important as they do want to help the fresh graduates as much as they want to help mid-career switches and also mature workers.
If you’re a jobseeker, consider reaching out to Careers Connect and speak with its career officers on the options available. They can provide you with career coaching and guidance, as well as job matching services.
Or you can also register your interest in WSG’s Career Matching Services here.
Career Coaching & Job Matching Services by NTUC’s e2i
Other than WSG, NTUC’s e2i too offers Singaporeans career coaching and job matching services. They also run regular workshops to help jobseekers with their CVs and also to prep them for interviews.
You might want to follow e2i’s Facebook page as they organise job fairs fairly often.
#SGUnited Skills Programme by NTUC LearningHub
Have you heard about the #SGUnited Skills Programme by NTUC LHUB, one of NTUC’s social enterprises?
COVID-19 has presented many challenges, from impacted livelihood to career setbacks. To help Singaporean and PR job seekers get back on track, NTUC LHUB has recently launched 14 Tech Light & Tech Heavy Tracks in the SGUnited Skills (SGUS) Programme.
The SGUS Programme is a series of 6 or 9-month full-time training programmes to help workers acquire industry-relevant skills.
The courses have been designed in partnership with the industry and focus on skills that are or will be in demand in emerging or growing industries. There will also be opportunities to apply the skills learnt through opportunities like workplace immersions and industry projects.
At the end of the courses, attendees will also benefit from employment facilitation efforts from NTUC LearningHub.
Course fees are really affordable at $500 for the 6-month courses and $750 for the 9-month courses. Yes, you can use your SkillsFuture Credit as well as your Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) if you’re a NTUC member.
What’s even better? You will also get $1,200* monthly training allowance while you learn! Check out the details here.
Even as we know that it’s a rough ride ahead, let’s try and help one another and don’t give up!
Some of us may lose our jobs and some of us may see a drop in our income. And even for those who are fortunate enough to still keep their jobs, they may be doing more at work as manpower is cut, or perhaps they may be facing mental stress due to some factors beyond their control.
But let’s not lose hope.
At least in Singapore, we know that there is help from multiple avenues and even if it’s harder now to land our dream job, it is still possible to find a job, even if temporary or on contract, to put food on the table first.
Hang in there! Things sometimes have to get worse before they get better, but they WILL get better eventually.