SINGAPORE, March 19 – An enhanced programme to match professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for training and jobs will aim to place over 3,000 PMEs by December 2017. Launched by Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin yesterday, the P-Max programme builds on the previous Place-and-Train programme called Max Talent, which was introduced in April 2012 by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and placed 1,000 PMEs at 954 SMEs. The enhanced programme was first announced during the Manpower Ministry’s Committee of Supply debate last week.
In his speech, Mr Tan spoke of the need to shift the focus from the quantity of jobs to the quality of jobs. “We need to begin to focus not just on job creation for its own sake, not just the quantity of jobs, which obviously helps a lot … but we do need to begin to look at quality jobs.” Such jobs should provide meaningful career progression for Singaporeans, and tap on their abilities and capabilities. “The quality of jobs isn’t just in terms of what we are providing for the employees and Singaporeans, but also what we bring to bear in terms of value-add to not only your company but to the economy at large,” he added.
A new element of the P-Max programme is a one-day workshop to train SME supervisors and managers to improve their HR practices and the communication between them and the PMEs. Previously, PMEs needed to attend workshops but the employers did not. As for the PMEs, their training will be enhanced to include modules on workplace ethics, joint target-setting and performance reviews, which are aimed at helping them excel in an SME work environment.
Twelve companies have already agreed to offer place-and-train spots to PMEs. Among them is 361 Degree Management, an accountancy and auditing service company that was part of the Max Talent scheme. Commenting on the new training for employers, company director Ken Leong said: “With the one-day workshop for SMEs, it will be a bridge between employers and employees to have a common understanding. If the employees just go through the workshop alone, I don’t know what kind of training they went through and what areas have been touched upon.”
Mr Robin Soo, chief financial officer of Soon Chow Workshop, added: “I hope the workshops for the PMEs will help them to learn about local SME settings, how they can play their role in SMEs, to learn that running a business is complicated and that working in an SME might mean taking on multiple tasks, to educate new staff on the environment they will be in.” His company plans to join the P-Max programme.