Committee Of Supply Debates 2022 Speech By Senior Minister Of State For Manpower And Defencee Zaqy Mohamad On 10 March 2022
Partnering the Community and Industry in Building a Competent Workforce
Mr Chairman, Singapore’s progress is built upon a shared purpose and a sense of togetherness. The Malay/Muslim community aspires to be a Community of Success - to contribute to the growth of our nation, and create opportunities to uplift our families and those around us.
Skilling, reskilling and upskilling are vital to succeed in the future, especially in this economy as we look beyond COVID-19. The Government, in partnership with the industry and community, is ramping up its efforts to better position our Malay/Muslim community for employment in growth sectors while inculcating life-long learning into our DNA.
a. We will focus on upstream support by strengthening mentoring and early career guidance for youth in schools. This year, we have several new initiatives for our students in the ITE.
b. We will also enhance scholarship opportunities and financial support to help students pursue their aspirations.
c. For those that have entered the workforce, we will partner with industries to provide upskilling and direct emplacement opportunities for workers especially in growth sectors.
Mentoring and early career guidance for youth
Mr Chairman, each child deserves an opportunity in life to actualise their potential.
a. However, there may be times when they face challenges which weigh heavy on them, causing some to lose motivation and hope.
b. Thus, having a support system is critical to motivate them to stay resilient and keep on the right path to fulfil their aspirations as well as their potential.
This is why MENDAKI is investing and strengthening its mentoring programmes.
a. We believe that our youth can benefit from a mentor outside the classroom – a role model whom they can turn to for advice, look up to and learn from to realise their aspirations.
b. At the same time, we want to provide opportunities for those who have succeeded to give back to the community.
Ms Mariam Jaafar and Mr Sharael Taha asked for an update on MENDAKI’s mentoring programmes.
a. I am happy to report that as of last year, the M³ Youth Mentoring Office or YMO has matched over 1,000 mentors to more than 4,000 mentees across various mentoring programmes.
b. YMO will continue to expand the mentoring ecosystem and will be engaging further 600 mentors and 2,000 mentees this year.
c. We are also glad to share that 10 community partners from the Community Leaders Forum (CLF), including the Majulah Community, Malay Youth Literary Association (4PM), AMP Singapore and Singapore Tenkasi, have come on board to conduct mentoring programmes for their own beneficiaries.
d. With the YMO, we are now making mentoring more accessible for all.
I call on more from the community to step forward as mentors to help our youth thrive as successful adults.
a. To address Ms Nadia Samdin’s query, mentoring programmes from MENDAKI and M³ Focus Area 3 partners are opened to all Malay/Muslim students, including madrasah students.
b. In fact, these programmes aim to expand the social circle and promote bonding among students from these various backgrounds.
c. We have been taking this inclusive approach for other MENDAKI programmes too - such as the Future Ready initiatives and career programmes, which are designed to prepare our youth for meaningful careers, no matter their background.
Mr Abdul Samad asked about the students in our Institutes of Higher Learning.
a. In 2021, there were 5,000 Malay graduates from ITE, 3,200 from polytechnics, and 800 from the Autonomous Universities (AUs).
b. On average, about 30 Malay graduates from each ITE cohort progressed to the Autonomous Universities. You can imagine the pathways they took. It is quite commendable.
c. According to the latest Graduate Employment Survey, among economically active Malay graduates, about 9 in 10 graduates from the Autonomous Universities and polytechnics, and 8 in 10 graduates from ITE were employed within six months of graduation.
d. Their employment outcomes are broadly comparable to their peers from other ethnic groups.
Chairman, this year, we will provide more support for our youth in ITE to complement the Government’s efforts to enhance applied education in Singapore.
a. Piloted in 2019, MENDAKI’s Empowerment Programme at ITE seeks to build support systems and help students acquire life skills, develop confidence and grow their potential.
i. To Mr Mohd Fahmi Aliman’s question, the Empowerment Programme has benefited more than 2,000 mentees since its inception. Through the programme, MENDAKI has managed to enrol one in every five Malay/Muslim NITEC students in 2021.
ii. The programme has proven to be successful. 96% of participants from the Empowerment Programme in 2021 remained in school and progressed to their second year.
b. One student that benefited from the ITE Empowerment Programme is Muhammad Roth Isaac from ITE College West.
i. Isaac took on a part-time job to help his family of four after his father’s income was affected by the pandemic. Even though Isaac is just a teenager, he had to deal with the pressure and responsibility of juggling school and supporting his family.
ii. Fortunately, he had a caring mentor, Mr Sandeep Krishna, who constantly checked on his well-being and helped him with his studies.
iii. Mr Sandeep currently works as a Network Engineer. Despite his heavy work commitment, he sets aside time for mentoring. Mr Sandeep recalls the challenges he faced as a student not too long ago and hence he believes in the value of guiding youth towards their potential.
iv. Mr Sandeep befriended Isaac and motivated him to remain in school. Isaac remained focused and managed to achieve a 3.7 GPA in his first year of NITEC.
v. Well done Isaac, and thank you Mr Sandeep! And we need more people like him.
c. We need to help more students like Isaac to do well – not only for themselves, but for their families and the community.
i. The ITE Empowerment Programme will be refreshed to the #amPowered@ITE programme - which will retain key elements of its predecessor, but enhanced to include a tiered mentoring approach where mentees will be assigned to programmes based on their unique needs.
ii. This means tailoring the mentoring approach for each mentee to achieve specific objectives depending on their circumstances.
iii. The #amPowered programme will also be progressively made available under the MENDAKI Tuition Scheme (MTS) and at our M3 Towns.
d. We agree with Mr Fahmi and Mr Sharael that our students can benefit from structured career guidance, especially to growth sectors such as information and communications, financial and insurance services, and professional services.
i. Thus, to complement the mentoring programmes, MENDAKI will deploy Care Advisors at each of the YouthSpaces in the three ITE Colleges. Their role is to guide students on possible education pathways, and connect them to skilling or emplacement opportunities.
ii. Care Advisors can also be found at MENDAKI’s satellite centres to serve the Malay/Muslim community at large.
Enhancing scholarship opportunities and financial support for students
Mr Chairman, over the years, MENDAKI has provided bursaries, study loans and subsidies so that financial circumstances do not impede our students from achieving success.
a. Moving forward, MENDAKI will focus on providing targeted financial support on the developmental needs of our students and broaden the opportunities for them to build career aspirations.
Mr Faisal Manap may be pleased to note that MENDAKI has been actively growing its industry partnerships to provide scholarships for our students to position them into growth sectors.
a. This year, I am pleased to announce the launch of the GIC-MENDAKI Scholarship.
i. Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, in collaboration with MENDAKI, will introduce a new undergraduate scholarship for Singaporean Malay students who are keen to pursue a career in the finance industry.
ii. The scholarship is in partnership with three local universities – NUS, NTU and SMU – and will cover the undergraduate tuition fees for most degree programmes in these universities.
iii. GIC will provide structured internships, job rotations, networking and mentorship for the scholarship recipients. They can expect an exciting and purposeful career with GIC upon their graduation.
b. The GIC-MENDAKI Scholarship is the latest effort by MENDAKI to collaborate with the industry to provide a springboard for our youth into careers in fast growing industries.
c. This follows other scholarships such as the MENDAKI-MiRXES scholarship, formed last year in Life and Biomedical Sciences, and the SIA-MENDAKI scholarship.
d. These scholarships provide students with priority internship opportunities and secure employment upon their graduation.
e. MENDAKI will continue to expand these opportunities and I urge all Malay/Muslim students to work hard to seize them.
The generosity of our corporate partners and community have also enabled us to provide more support to deserving students. Since we set up the Education Trust Fund (ETF) in 2003, MENDAKI has disbursed over $30 million in financial assistance donated by the community to over 130,000 Muslim students.
a. Last year, over one million dollars of ETF bursaries was established, including the ETF-Gafoor PropNex Bursary and Math Coaching Fund.
b. On top of school necessities, this bursary would directly pay for students’ development programmes in Mathematics.
c. I hope this targeted approach will be the way forward for MENDAKI to better support the immediate needs of our students and their growth.
Upskilling and direct emplacement opportunities for workers
I have explained how we intend to prepare our youth for the future. Now, let me elaborate on our plans to provide more direct and targeted support to emplace our Malay/Muslim workers into growth industries.
Mr Chairman, in Malay, please.
Tuan pengerusi, saya telah membentangkan bagaimana kami akan mengukuhkan sokongan pementoran dan bimbingan kerjaya dari awal untuk membantu golongan belia kita mencapai cita-cita mereka.
a. MENDAKI juga akan menyediakan lebih banyak sokongan kewangan dan biasiswa supaya para pelajar dapat meraih peluang untuk terus berjaya.
Untuk para pekerja pula, kami akan membina kemahiran mereka supaya mereka kekal relevan untuk berkhidmat di dalam industri baru atau yang sedang berkembang.
a. Tahun lalu, MENDAKI mengadakan 15 pameran kerjaya dengan penyertaan lebih 700 peserta. Dari jumlah ini, lebih 300 berjaya mendapat pekerjaan.
b. Antara usaha transformasi MENDAKI, kami akan memperluaskan kerjasama dengan agensi-agensi latihan nasional untuk menyalurkan pekerja Melayu/Islam kita ke industri berkembang seperti teknologi dan ekonomi hijau.
Encik Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim dan Encik Sharael Taha mengajukan soalan bagaimana usaha-usaha ini akan memberi manfaat kepada para pekerja kita yang baru ataupun yang di pertengahan kerjaya mereka.
Encik Saktiandi Supaat pula memberi beberapa cadangan yang akan kami pertimbangkan.
Izinkan saya untuk menerangkan rancangan Pemerintah dengan lebih lanjut.
a. MENDAKI akan bekerja rapat dengan SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) untuk menggalak masyarakat menyertai program-program pembangunan.
b. Kami juga akan menyokong usaha di peringkat nasional dengan menempatkan Pegawai Penasihat MENDAKI, atau Care Advisors, di lima pusat satelit kami.
c. Selain daripada itu, Care Advisors kami akan ditugaskan di pameran-pameran kerjaya SSG di bandar-bandar M³.
d. Usaha ini bertujuan untuk meningkatkan kesedaran masyarakat kita tentang kegiatan dan perkhidmatan yang ditawarkan oleh SSG, serta berkongsi maklumat tentang program Future Ready.
e. Masyarakat boleh berjumpa dengan Care Advisors kami di pameran kerjaya untuk mendapatkan nasihat yang diperlukan.
MENDAKI juga berganding bahu dengan Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Kebangsaan (NTUC), untuk menolong pekerja-pekerja Melayu/Islam kita mendapatkan pekerjaan di industri baru atau yang sedang membangun.
a. Selain menawarkan pelbagai program pembangunan pekerjaan, NTUC akan menghubungkan pekerja kita kepada peluang pekerjaan dan latihan di tempat kerja, supaya mereka dapat meningkatkan kemahiran dalam industri berkenaan.
Pemerintah akan terus memberi sokongan kepada para pekerja Melayu/Islam untuk membangunkan kecekapan dan meningkatkan daya kerja mereka.
a. Ini termasuk menggilap bakat kepimpinan muda di kalangan badan-badan Melayu/Islam (MMO) kita melalui program Tunas Bersama M³ yang dilancarkan tahun lalu. Ini untuk memperkukuhkan usaha kami demi memajukan masyarakat kita bersama.
b. Keterangan lanjut tentang Tunas Bersama M³ akan dikongsi kemudian.
Mr Chairman, the community has shown good progress in employment in the last 10 years. We aim to do even better in the years to come.
a. As MENDAKI celebrates its 40th anniversary, it remains invested in the community’s success by looking at more strategic programmes to support our youth pursue to their aspirations and our workers to strengthen their competencies in a dynamic workforce.
b. Our growth has only been possible with the strong support of our community and our partners.
c. Let us work together as one - keeping the community at the heart of what we are doing, so that they too can do well for themselves and contribute back to society.
d. This continuous cycle of support would go a long way in strengthening the competencies of our Community of Success.
e. Thank you.
I have explained how we intend to strengthen upstream mentoring and career guidance efforts to help our youth achieve their dreams.
a. MENDAKI will also enhance financial support and scholarship opportunities to help students pursue their aspirations.
For those already in the workforce, we will build up their competencies so that they stay relevant for new and growing industries.
a. Last year, MENDAKI conducted over 15 career fairs, engaged over 700 job seekers, and placed more than 300 workers to jobs.
b. As part of MENDAKI’s transformation efforts, we will expand our partnerships with national training agencies to bring our resources closer to the community to provide more direct and targeted support to emplace our Malay/Muslim workers in growth industries, such as in technology and the green economy.
Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim and Mr Sharael Taha asked how these efforts will benefit new job seekers and mid-career workers.
Mr Saktiandi Supaat also gave a few suggestions which we will study further.
Do allow me to explain the Government’s approach in more details.
a. MENDAKI will build on our partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to promote capability development programmes to the community.
b. We will augment national efforts by mobilising MENDAKI’s Care Advisors at the five MENDAKI satellite centres.
c. These Care Advisors will also be deployed at SSG career fairs held at the various M³@Towns.
d. The aim is to expand awareness of activities and services offered by SSG as well as share information on Future Ready programmes with the community.
e. The community can look out for our Care Advisors the next time they attend such employment fairs, who will assist to emplace them in suitable job opportunities.
MENDAKI will also join forces with NTUC to help Malay/Muslim workers secure job placements in emerging and growth sectors.
a. NTUC’s vast range of employment and employability programmes will be made accessible to the community, and through direct training and job placement opportunities, job seekers will be able to reskill and upskill themselves into hiring industries.
The Government will continue our efforts to support Malay/Muslim workers to build up their competencies to improve their job prospects and income opportunities.
a. This includes strengthening the leadership core of our Malay/Muslim Organisations (MMO) through the Tunas Bersama M³ programme which was launched last year, to enhance coordinated efforts for our community’s continued progress.
b. More details on the Tunas Bersama M³ programme will be shared in the near future.