Oral Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower to PQ on Auditor-General's Report for FY 2019/2020
NOTICE PAPER NO. 67 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON 5 OCTOBER
QUESTION NO. 190 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Mr Pritam Singh
To ask the Minister for Manpower in light of the Auditor-General's Report for FY 2019/2020, (a) whether the Ministry will be undertaking a more wide-scale review of the number of successful career conversions and Professional Conversion Programme outcomes thus far; and (b) what will be the extent of sample checks to be conducted on grant Programme Partners by Workforce Singapore or the Ministry in future.
- Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) provide training and salary support to employers who hire and reskill mid-career jobseekers for new PMET jobs with good prospects. WSG currently works with 30 programme partners, including Trade Associations and Chambers and Institutes of Higher Learning, to run close to 100 PCPs in about 30 sectors.
- A significant majority of our PCP participants have enjoyed good employment outcomes. About 9 in 10 participants remained in employment 24 months after being placed, and about 7 in 10 earned higher wages after starting their new jobs. The Auditor-General Office (AGO)’s audit findings do not call into question the impact of these programmes on participants, but have highlighted issues with the practices of WSG’s programme partners.
- In the AGO’s Report for the Financial Year 2019/2020, it was highlighted that three of WSG’s programme partners did not carry out adequate verification of career conversion for 11 disbursement cases involving 15 PCP participants. There was no doubt that the training had been properly carried out but AGO noted that programme partners had not documented how the participants’ previous and current job scopes were different, which is the requirement for the training to be supported under PCP. WSG has reviewed each of these cases and verified that all 15 participants changed their job scopes and successfully converted into new job roles through their respective PCPs. In addition, as mentioned in the AGO Report, WSG will be developing a new PCP guide for all its programme partners by the end of the year. The document will include guidelines on how career conversion should be consistently assessed, as well as the critical information that programme partners should report to ensure better and consistent monitoring of PCP outcomes.
- AGO also checked 16 PCPs managed by eight programmes partners, and found inadequate monitoring of programme outcomes for 10 PCPs. The programme partners did not collect the complete set of performance indicators required by WSG, and had varying practices in collecting the information. WSG has since reviewed and streamlined its approach. Henceforth, programme partners will focus on the most important outcome indicators, namely number of placements and number of participants who completed training, both of which are straightforward to monitor and report.
- Beyond the cases studied by AGO, WSG initiated a comprehensive check of over 15,000 PCP placements for similar lapses. Although the review will only be fully completed later this year, WSG has not uncovered further lapses thus far.
- Ensuring good governance and outcomes for our programmes is a key priority for MOM and WSG. WSG has reiterated to all programme partners the need to adhere to the PCP administration process, including assessment of career conversion for participants, as well as the importance of close tracking and timely reporting of key programme outcome indicators. To ensure compliance with these requirements, WSG will conduct sampling checks of up to 20% of PCP placements by its programme partners on a regular basis.
- WSG remains committed to working closely with its programme partners to ensure sound governance and effectiveness of PCPs.