Singapore military, industry help Soldiers return to workforce

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Tom Abke

Singapore’s defense minister joined the leaders of 33 companies and trade groups in April 2021 to launch a public-private partnership to help young military service members resume their careers in an economy altered by the global pandemic.

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, pictured, launched the Community of Practice of National Service Advocates on April 21, 2021. The initiative aims to offer career development, education, mentorship and physical fitness training.

Singapore’s government characterizes national service as the “cornerstone of Singapore’s defense and security since its independence” in 1967. Male citizens and permanent residents must serve two years in the Armed Forces, Singapore Police Force or Singapore Civil Defence Force followed by up to 40 days each year as Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen).

“The quality of ideas and the robust conversations we had today are the strongest signs of the high level of commitment and support that our employers and businesses” give to national service and service members, Heng said at the event.

The Career Transformation, Education, and Support (CTES) Programme seeks to enhance service members’ employability through resources that include career workshops, an online career discovery platform, guidance from career coaches and partnerships with recruiters.

The not-for-profit Singapore Human Resources Institute also granted a complimentary one-year membership to service members, who can attend career-development courses and webinars on subjects such as resume writing and interview techniques, and benefit from Singapore’s oldest and largest human resources network.

Service members interested in logistics and supply chain management can take a course tailored for them. A joint offering by Singapore’s Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) and the Singapore Logistics Association, the program is designed for service members to acquire and upgrade industry-leading skills.

Singapore Sports Hub, the country’s main sports, entertainment and lifestyle facility, collaborated with sports and fitness app maker Elxr to launch an app for men preparing to enlist or former service members looking to stay fit. Employers can use the app to customize exercise programs for their staff with incentives for regular participation.

“Through initiatives like these, we can increase support for NSmen and their employers as we emerge from the disruptions caused by COVID-19,” said Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, group chairman of InfoFabrica Holdings and an ACCORD advisor.




Tom Abke is a FORUM contributor reporting from Singapore.

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