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Five growth industries picked for more focused job help: Lim Swee Say

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[SINGAPORE] More effort will be poured into helping job seekers find jobs in five growth industries, with political office holders stepping up to coordinate work in each sector, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say on Wednesday (July 19).

The five industries were chosen as they are likely to be the most affected by technological disruption, and at the same time have tremendous potential for jobs growth, he said.

Second Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo will lead the effort, together with four Senior Ministers of State:

- Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary will oversee the infocomm and media sector;

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- Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon will oversee the wholesale trade sector; and

- Senior Minister of State for Finance and Law Indranee Rajah will oversee the financial services and professional services sectors

Mr Lim said the Government, employers and unions in each of the sectors will look at how currrent job seekers will be affected by industry changes, and how to retrain them for the upcoming jobs, for example using Adapt and Grow schemes like the professional conversion programmes.

More conversion programmes may be added, and new initiatives can be customised for each sector if that is deemed helpful. This is because the challenges and opportunities in each sector are different, he said, speaking to reporters at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

The office holders have already started work, and new sectors may also be added to the list of focus areas later on, he said.

The efforts over the years to transform the economy towards more manpower lean growth are bearing fruit, with economic growth of 2 per cent last year comprising 1 per cent workforce growth and 1 per cent productivity growth, said Mr Lim, compared with negligible productivity growth in previous years.

"The transformation of our economy will continue...By spreading the use of technology we will be able to create more jobs of tomorrow, and we hope the jobs of tomorrow will be better than the jobs of today," he said.

More help to connect job seekers and jobs was also launched on Wednesday (July 19) by Workforce Singapore (WSG), which added five new free programmes at its career centres.

For job seekers, there will be a Career Catalyst programme providing one-on-one career guidance to help them plan their career goals. Those finding it hard to cope emotionally with a job loss can attend one-on-one Career Recharger counselling sessions. Since being launched as pilot runs in April, the two programmes have been attended by 150 people and seven people respectively.

Job seekers are also linked up with each other for peer support through the Career 360 programme, which was launched in a June as a pilot run. They can provide industry contacts to other jobseekers keen to move into their industry and expand their networks.

There are also workshops on delivering a good elevator pitch, which last 4 1/2 days and include a career fair for jobseekers to put the skills learnt into practice.

For employers, there are workshops on writing effective job descriptions based on clear skills-based requirements to attract the right talent.

WSG is redesigning its three career centres to be more user-friendly, and has renamed them Careers Connect.

At the Lifelong Learning Institute Careers Connect, more resources are available to the public with 20 desktop computers for people to access online career resources. A lobby area with computer terminals and information on jobs in demand will now be open from 7am to 10pm, instead of just 9am to 5pm, to cater to people who need to use the resources outside of office hours.

The Tampines and Woodlands Careers Connect centres have also been updated.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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