On the second day of the Budget debate, Labour Member of Parliament Patrick Tay spoke on how this year’s budget addresses current realities and at the same time prepares every Singaporean for the future.
In essence, I agree with his take on the budget. In order to take our country into the next lap, we (all of us) have got to prepare ourselves for the future.
Mr Tay who is also an NTUC Assistant Secretary-General noted that the budget with its SkillsFuture initiatives will benefit Singaporeans regardless of “whether one is in employment, in-between employment, out of employment, going into or starting employment or leaving employment or even not in a formal employment relationship.”
This initiative is more wholesome. It covers every Singaporean of working age, which means that no one gets left behind. Every Singaporean should benefit from the initiative.
That said, Mr Tay brought up two groups of PMEs (Professionals, Managers and Executives) which need special attention, the young PMEs and the mature PMEs. He said these two groups worry about their employment and employability, which this year’s budget “seeks to address…through the SkillsFuture programmes, initiatives and funding.”
But he cautioned that the initiatives will only succeed if everyone plays their part, including the industry and employers, the Government as well as the labour movement and unions.
He specifically called on three groups to do three things:
- Leading by example through sending their PMEs for training and upgrading; develop the Singapore Core. Employers can also top-up the SkillsFuture credits of their staff to motivate them to embrace learning
- Raising productivity through Skills Upgrading
- Give support, encouragement and time-off from work for workers who may have practicum and exams during work hours
- Ensuring the SkillsFuture credits are easily accessible and used; enhanced funding for Singaporeans above 40
- Making the ‘one race to the top’ principle a reality in the civil service
- Work with the Labour Movement better to better connect PMEs to jobs in the jobs bank, drive progressive wage model for PMEs
- Take individual responsibility and initiative to tap on programmes and funding
- Cultivating a spirit of lifelong learning and Continuous Education and Training
- Keeping an open mind to opportunities
Like Mr Tay, I hope Singaporeans take the opportunity to take up funding for training and second-skilling so that we prepare for a rainy day.
If we don’t do it, then not only will such funding go to waste, but our workers will continue to remain stagnant and never move ahead.
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