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What employers need to know about Singapore's new freelancer guidelines

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), together with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) U Creative, have launched new initiatives to upgrade and deepen the skills of freelancers in the Creative Industries (CI).

A key initiative is the pilot run of the Attach and Train Programme (ATP), a structured attachment programme to upskill junior freelancers in the CI, by giving them the opportunities to develop their skills while they build up their freelance portfolio.

Freelancers will be attached to a host company for one to six months to work on real life projects while they undergo on-the-job training (OJT) with an appointed mentor. Supporting the programme is a series of workshops to equip freelancers with essential business and industry skills.

For a start, the programme targets to benefit 20 freelancers over the next two years, across positions such as assistant directors, assistant producers, and graphics designers.

WDA has appointed AIPRO (Association of Independent Producers Singapore) as the programme manager, to match suitable candidates to a participating host company based on job fit.

WDA and NTUC U Creative also announced a series of courses in disciplines such as animation, design, and, film and TV developed in collaboration with industry partners. These courses are short but intensive, to enable freelancers to deepen their skills despite their irregular work schedule.

These courses encompass a Survival Bootcamp workshop series, entrepreneurship series and masterclasses, and will run till end March 2017.

What employers need to know about these new initiatives

  1. The ATP is for junior freelancers, who will be required to complete the freelancer workshop, before undergoing attachment in a host company for one-six months on a project, with on-the-job training with an appointed mentor.
  2. The candidate must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident; engaged by the hosting company within 2 years after their graduation; engaged in at least one Creative freelance project over the past 6 months (this should not include school projects); not holding any full-time permanent employment; and must not have participated in this programme previously.
  3. Participating companies must fulfil the following criteria: registered or incorporated in Singapore; must provide a well-defined project of minimally 1 month (i.e. 176 hours per month); assign a mentor to guide the junior freelancer; and send a company representative (eg. the assigned mentor or HR personnel) to attend the WDA-approved workshop for mentors.
  4. Participating companies will receive the following funding support: project fee support – 70% of actual monthly contract fees, capped at $2,000 per month, for up to 6 months; and mentorship allowance – $400 per month, capped at $2,000.

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Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of WDA, commented: "The suite of interventions introduced by WDA aim to equip them with the relevant skills, so that they are able to adapt to evolving demands and support the growth of the industry."

Vivek Kumar, NTUC director for U Creative, added: "We shall continue to work with the U Circle of Friends of the Labour Movement and other partners to provide our creative media professionals with the resources and opportunities to expand their expertise and experiences."

Image: 123RF

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