Speech at The 6th APEC Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting
Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Manpower and Education, Hanoi, Vietnam
Your Excellency Bui Quang Vinh
Honourable Heads of Delegations
Ladies and gentlemen
- Good afternoon. On behalf of the Singapore delegation, let me first thank the Government of Vietnam for hosting the 6th APEC Human Resource Development Ministerial Meeting and for the generous hospitality that has been extended to us.
- It is timely for APEC economies to come together again to share common challenges on human resource issues. According to the International Labour Organisation, worldwide unemployment has climbed to a new high of more than 200 million for the first time last year. In order to reduce unemployment rates and bring about more job opportunities for our people amid the evolving global landscape, it is imperative that we continue to enhance our human resource capabilities and invest in building skills and human capital.
BUILDING A COMPETITIVE LABOUR FORCE
Raising productivity for inclusive and sustainable growth
- Singapore is in the midst of restructuring our economy towards one driven by raising productivity through innovation and investments in human capital, so that good jobs with higher wages can be generated and sustained for our workers.
Generating good jobs
- We aim to create quality jobs, so that our workers can aspire to take on higher value-added work.
- First, we need to be competitive as an economy. Second, we must remain open as an attractive destination for business, so that investors continue to come to Singapore. At the same time, we help our businesses adapt and move up the value chain, to fully leverage the opportunities presented in the next phase of our economic growth. This will involve the innovative use of technology, re-engineering of business processes and pushing of new frontiers.
Boosting capabilities through Continuing Education and Training (CET)
- Our workforce is our most valuable resource, and that is why we will continue investing fully in training, for both Pre-Employment Training (PET) and Continuing Education Training (CET), from schools to the working world. We believe that a robust and quality education system will help to groom a pipeline of workers equipped with skills in demand by industries. Through CET, our workforce’s skills stay sharp, which will enable them to respond nimbly to changing demands of the market and take up the higher-value jobs created.
- We strive to support our workers by providing them improved access to pathways for training, regardless of the jobs they are in. Besides providing generous funding support to employers and workers to encourage skills upgrading, we have also collaborated with social partners to extend a comprehensive suite of employment facilitation and training advisory services to both rank-and-file workers and the professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) in our workforce.
FOSTERING INCLUSIVE GROWTH
Targeted assistance for our workforce
- We are also mindful of specific segments of workers who may be more vulnerable. We have paid special attention to them, and customised our assistance schemes. These include low-wage workers, older workers, and workers who are economically inactive (such as women who wish to re-enter the workforce).
- We recognise that having access to a job and possessing the skills to move upwards gives individuals a sense of responsibility, dignity and progress. This is a key consideration in our policies targeted at uplifting the vulnerable segments in employment. For example, we help our low-wage workers through the Workfare programme, which provides them with more income and retirement savings when they stay employed, and moves these workers into better and more productive jobs through training and upgrading so that they can experience sustainable wage growth.
- We have also introduced the WorkPro scheme to provide financial incentives to encourage employers to employ mature workers and those re-entering the workforce. At the same time, we encourage employers to provide flexible work arrangements to make the job more attractive and the workplace more conducive.
- This meeting provides an excellent opportunity for us to come together to address our common challenges in building a quality workforce and developing inclusive societies where every worker can have access to better jobs and sustainable wages.
- In conclusion, I would like to thank our host Vietnam again for the warm hospitality and excellent arrangements during our stay. Singapore looks forward to working closely with the APEC community to shape a society that can include and uplift every worker.
- Thank you.