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Singaporeans need to "take ownership of their career development"

While Singapore's government will continue taking measures to help generate quality jobs for the local workforce, it will be "equally important for Singaporeans to take ownership of their career development."

This was the view shared by the Minister for Trade and Industry, Lim Hng Kiang, in response to a parliamentary question on ensuring fulfilling jobs for graduates.

This is in light of the government increasing the percentage of graduates for each cohort from 25% to 40%, which implies that 40% of each school cohort will get an opportunity for local, publicly-funded university education by 2020.

Lim said that government is adopting a two-pronged approach to help graduates get good jobs, the first of which is to keep the economy competitive.

"We do this by growing knowledge-intensive industries such as advanced manufacturing and biologics that will provide good jobs, and by pursuing sustained, productivity-driven growth in key sectors of our economy such as manufacturing, financial and business services."

This, in turn, will not only allow the economy to grow, but also create higher skilled jobs for Singaporeans.

He quoted an example from the manufacturing industry, where the government is helping businesses adopt new technologies in areas such as additive manufacturing and robotics.

This is expected to create diverse jobs that "will require deep skills and multi-disciplinary knowledge, and the ability to synthesise the two."

"One example is a manufacturing operations design specialist, who needs to be able to design the manufacturing process for new products, rather than just implement an existing procedure."

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The second prong of the government's approach is to invest heavily in equipping Singaporeans with the skills to take up such jobs.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, he said, is working with the Ministries of Manpower and Education to identify and develop training programmes for current and future skill sets required by Singaporeans.

He cited the example of the SkillsFuture Council which is working with industry partners to develop sectoral manpower strategies.

In reference to the revised university cohort participation rate, he said the expansion had been "designed to place an emphasis on applied degree pathways to create a diverse pool of graduate talent to meet the changing demands of the economy."

"However, it is equally important for Singaporeans to take ownership of their career development, and ensure that they develop the right skills and experience to make full use of these opportunities that are emerging."

Image: Shutterstock

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