This article was originally published 1 June 2020 and updated to reflect the latest information from Budget 2021.
Fresh graduates who had hoped to begin their careers in the coming months are now accepting the reality of cancelled convocations and poor job prospects. A once-promising labour market is now crippled with layoffs, hiring freezes and salary reductions.
In view of the current economic climate, the Government has launched the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. It aims to equip graduates with valuable industry experience, and to secure a firmer foothold in the weak job market.
[Update] Budget 2021’s Extension Of SGUnited Traineeship Programme
As announced in Budget 2021, the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, including the SGUnited Traineeship Programme is now extended for another year until 31 March 2022, with the aim of providing up to 35,000 traineeship, attachments and training opportunities.
This will include fresh graduates from the 2021 cohort as well as the previous cohorts of 2020 and 2019. Additionally, for traineeships commencing on 1 April 2021 onwards, the stipend for ITE and diploma trainees will be increased and the duration for traineeship will be also shortened from 9 months to 6 months for traineeships commencing from 1 April 2021.
About The SGUnited Traineeships Programme
The SGUnited Traineeships Programme was first announced during the Resilience Budget and expanded during the Fortitude Budget. It aims to provide 25,000 traineeship positions of up to 12 months long. Under Budget 2021, another 35,000 positions including traineeship, attachments and training opportunities will be created for the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package.
Administered by the Ministry of Manpower and Workforce Singapore, the Government will pay for 80% of the training allowance, while the remaining 20% will be paid by the host company.
All traineeship under the programme must begin by 31 Dec 2020 31 March 2022. (This is revised to account for the extension under Budget 2021). Participating companies are expected to provide clear descriptions and development plans for the traineeship.
Trainees will receive a training allowance, as stated in the table below. According to Workforce Singapore, this allowance is pegged to 50 to 70% of median starting salaries, depending on your qualifications.
|Required qualifications or their equivalents||University degree or above||Polytechnic diploma or professional qualifications||ITE or equivalent|
|Estimated Monthly Training Allowance (for traineeships commencing before 1 April 2021)||$1,800 – $2,500||$1,300 – $1,800||$1,100 – $1,500|
|Estimated Monthly Training Allowance (for traineeships commencing from 1 April 2021 onwards)||$1,700 to $2,100||$1,600 to $1,800|
Source: Workforce Singapore
Who Is Eligible For The Programme?
To qualify, you must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident. You must also be graduating or have graduated in calendar year 2019, 2020 or 2021, from ITEs, polytechnics, universities or other educational institutions such as private universities or overseas institutions.
If you have graduated previously from these institutions and have completed your National Service in 2019, 2020 or 2021, you will qualify for the traineeship too. Those who have completed their part-time studies, Masters or PHD degree are eligible as well. For Masters or PHD degree-holders, one should take note that the training allowance of $1,800 to $2,500 still applies.
As announced in the Fortitude Budget, an additional 4,000 traineeship positions will be made available under a new SGUnited Mid-Career Traineeship programme at a later date for unemployed mid-career jobseekers.
Update: The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme has been launched and will be extended to 31 March 2022.
What Does This Traineeship Not Cover?
This programme offers a traineeship position — it is not a full-time role with the host company. Once the traineeship is completed, it is not guaranteed that you will be hired on a full-time basis. The host company must still offer a full-time position if they wish to have you onboard.
As a trainee, your host company is not obliged to provide employee benefits, such as sick and annual leaves, as trainees are not considered employees. Similarly, the company does not need to make CPF contributions. That being said, some companies may still choose to offer such benefits on their own accord.
How To Apply For A SGUnited Traineeship?
The programme officially begins on 1 June 2020. All vacancies will be listed on MyCareersFuture.sg, which serves as the main platform for this programme. You may look for listings with the hashtag #SGUnitedTraineeships.
Once you apply for the traineeship opportunity, the company will evaluate your application based on their own selection processes and reach out to you.
Past Participating Companies
There are various companies that have already pledged their participation in the SGUnited Traineeships Programme. Here are some past participating companies:
DBS Bank has 500 traineeships available to recent and upcoming graduates. It will be a 6 to 12-month role, with the possibility of converting to a permanent position.
Singtel will be hiring 600 trainees to complete 4- to 12-month stints, in functions such as engineering and marketing. The telecommunications company is also looking to hire more than 300 fresh graduates, and to increase its management associate programme intake to 60, up by 30%.
Smaller companies, such as cleaning services provider Spic & Span is looking to hire 15 trainees in roles of quality assurance and business development, while packaging firm Container Printers is opening up 5 traineeships in the areas of automation and IT.
The National University of Singapore is opening up 800 paid traineeships and 200 full-time positions for its graduating students. Its traineeships come in 4 different tracks: executive and professional, education, research, and entrepreneurship. Its traineeships are now open here.
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