Two new initiatives have been launched on Tuesday in the early childhood education sector to retain existing employees and woo new ones. The reason behind the initiatives is to cope with the escalating manpower needs in the sector, especially as the authorities are set to ramp up the number of childcare facilities in the next few years.
Minister of State (Manpower) Teo Ser Luck, presented at the launch of the initiatives, said that there are progression opportunities in the sector, as long as an employee meets the requirements for the different job roles.
He also highlighted the importance of finding teachers who have the right expectations of the industry.
One programme offers pre-school operators tips from human resource consultants on improving the workplace environment for employees to encourage them to stay on. These could be in the areas of welfare or career development, for instance.
With 2,800 workers collectively, more than 20 pre-school operators have signed up for such coaching since this Progressive HR practices early-adopter programme was introduced in February this year.
Spanning 12 months, the programme involves a survey to gauge employee satisfaction, and courses on leadership recruitment and performance management.
Centres can obtain grants of up to 90 per cent and could receive S$20,000 in incentives, depending on their performance six months after completing the programme. Factors that would be considered include employee satisfaction ratings and retention rates.
The second programme gathers a pool of career advisers to help potential entrants to the pre-school sector understand more about the industry, such as the aptitude needed to do the job.
At the same time, these advisers can find out about jobseekers’ career aspirations and expectations, and match them with specific job requirements or expectations with different employers.
So far, 24 veterans, including pre-school teachers and curriculum specialists, have volunteered under this SkillsFuture career advisers programme. There are around 16,000 professionals in the childcare sector now, but another 4,000 will be needed in the next three years or so.
Tan Choon Shian, Workforce Singapore chief executive, said the new initiatives are significant for the sector, in attracting talent and offering rewarding and fulfilling careers. “This is made even more crucial as the early years are critical in shaping the foundation of a child’s development, and having the right talent in the sector is important,” he added.