Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Community jobs initiative launched for West Coast and Pioneer residents

SINGAPORE – Job seekers living in West Coast and Pioneer have more avenues to find employment and career advice thanks to a year-long jobs programme that started on Wednesday (June 17).

The scheme includes virtual job fairs that will offer more than 500 immediate positions such as retail assistants, sales executives, analysts and engineers from 50 employers across different industries, said a People’s Association statement. Most of the jobs are in the western part of Singapore.

Self-service kiosks will be set up at five community centres and clubs in the area from mid-July with around 100 volunteers trained to provide basic career advice at the sites.

This initiative by West Coast GRC, Pioneer SMC, National Trades Union Congress’ (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute and the South West Community Development Council is the first community-led jobs programme since the Covid-19 outbreak began here in January.

Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said the ground-up programme was meant to complement the National Jobs Council that was formed last month.

“Because while we have these programmes at the broad national level working through our agencies, we do need an initiative and movement on the ground, because that will help to bring the message closer to the residents,” added Mr Iswaran, who was speaking after a Digital Ambassadors outreach effort at West Coast Market Square.

The minister, who is also an MP for West Coast GRC, suggested the initiative could be extended to other areas: “What we are doing here is a first but I’m sure that there will be many more to come.”

The Government has set aside about $2 billion to create around 100,000 jobs, traineeships and training opportunities as part of the Fortitude Budget announced last month.

The West Coast and Pioneer initiative involves kiosks to be set up at five community centres and clubs from mid-July.

These kiosks at Telok Blangah, Ayer Rajah, Boon Lay, West Coast and The Frontier are meant mainly for job seekers who do not have access to smartphones or have difficulty finding jobs online. Residents can search for positions based on job function and geographical proximity.

More than 100 grassroots volunteers will be trained in July by coaches from the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i)to provide basic advice at the self-service kiosks on Fridays and Saturdays.

The virtual job fair rolled out on Monday was visited by more than 1,000 people on the first day, offering posts from industries such as retail, healthcare, biomedical and manufacturing.

It will run until July 3 and can be accessed here. Small-scale physical job fairs to be held once a month or even more frequently will start once Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

South West CDC vice-chairman Ang Wei Neng, who is also an MP for Jurong GRC, said: “The Jobs Programme is not a one-off. It is a 12-month programme that helps match good jobs with the residents, link the residents with suitable training and coaching lessons when they are searching for jobs and more importantly, walk with them throughout the journey.

“As long as the residents have the willingness to acquire new skills, have the right attitude, we will help them to be employed.”


Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran and digital ambassadors engaging a stall owner at West Coast Market Place on June 17, 2020. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

A virtual dialogue session focusing on jobs and skills upgrading was held on Tuesday, involving Mr Iswaran, other West Coast GRC MPs, Pioneer MP Cedric Foo, Mr Ang, e2i chief executive Gilbert Tan and Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee.

Mr Iswaran also gave an update on Wednesday on efforts to get more hawkers to offer cashless payments via the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) available under the Hawkers Go Digital programme.

Mr Iswaran had said earlier that 1,000 digital ambassadors would be recruited by the end of June to help stallholders and seniors go digital. So far, 400 have been recruited, up from 200 a week ago.

These ambassadors have contacted more than half of Singapore’s 112 hawker centres and wet markets,.

Mr Manpal Singh, 45, a hawker at West Coast Market Square selling fish soup, recently signed up to offer the SGQR option.

“Overall, I think it would be beneficial, as it would be easier to count the takings at the end of the day,” he noted.

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