Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck told Parliament today that the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) and SPRING’s existing SME Talent Programme (STP) are complementary initiatives.
Mr Teo said that the Workforce Development Agency is working with SPRING to harmonise the programmes, which both involve the recruitment of graduates from Polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs).
However, there is one area which the ELP lacks. University graduates are not covered under the new scheme.
The STP on the other hand, looks to recruiting ITE, Polytechnic and University students to join participating small and medium enterprises (SMEs)
Why should the programme only be confined to ITE and Polytechnic students? I think the SkillsFuture ELP should be extended to cover the University students as well.
Mr Teo added that the STP will be scaled down over time, and ceased for sectors and job roles that are covered by SkillsFuture ELP.
Once the STP is scaled down, I worry that there is no focussed programme to help University students.
While the labour market is tight and unemployment remains low, some fresh graduates bemoan the fact that they are unable to find jobs.
The ELP enables ITE and Polytechnic students to be placed on a work-study programme where they can take on jobs in participating companies. It encourages the graduates to enter industries for which they were trained for, by providing them with opportunities to earn an income and deepen their skills through a mix of institution-based and work-based training.
Again, with the STP taken away, the University students will be deprived of an opportunity for hands-on training whilst working in Small and Medium Enterprises.
I think it is important for the ELP to be extended to University students, so that the students can get better hands-on experience in their course, which will give them confidence when they begin their careers.
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