Screenshot of Chan Chun Sing from WEF

In an interview with state media Straits Times, Minister of State Chan Chun Sing said that people tells him that the economy is “confusing” because various propaganda news articles give contradicting narratives:

“The numbers show that the economy is growing, and jobs are being created. But for workers navigating the current employment landscape, things can be confusing. There are sectors shedding many workers, yet employers bemoan a lack of skilled workers. Some people have told me that the economy is very confusing. Sometimes they tell me it is doing well, sometimes they tell me it’s not doing well.”

The former army general then said the government will prepare “Operationally Ready Job Seekers”, referencing to the army term of Operationally-ready NSmen. Minister Chan Chun Sing touted the latest S$61 million-a-year government programme, Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), as the “bridge” to “move people from sectors that are slowing down to those that are doing well”:

“It is now one of the key tools against skills mismatch, and extends to helping professionals prepare for new jobs in the new economy, even within the same company.”

The PCP give private companies money up to S$6,000 a month per worker for six months, excluding training funds up to S$9,000. According to the government, the programme have helped 4,600 Singaporeans in the past two years.

Minister Chan Chun Sing then described the government programme as a “birthday cake”:

“Such programmes, and industry-specific PCPs, are like the candles on top of a birthday cake. The layers of the cake – horizontal policies which are broadbased and foundational- are still required, but increasingly, there is a need for more specific policies that still allow for some customisation to suit workers’ and companies’ different needs.”

Minister Chan Chun Sing then claimed that NTUC will come out with training courses that “people can take while waiting for a bus”:

“The labour movement is also pitching in with its own bite-sized courses that people can take while waiting for the bus.”