New manpower initiatives to support growing ageing community

Dr Amy Khor interacting with resident from Sree Narayana Mission Home during the arts painting at the AIC’s Community Care Forum.

In light of a rapidly ageing Singapore population which will increase to three-fold over the next two decades resulting in the need for more manpower to support the increased healthcare and social care services, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) is pulling out all stops to achieve this.

To attract, develop and retain local community support care workers, it is piloting four new manpower development initiatives from June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016. This was announced during the Community Care Forum 2015 held by AIC.

Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Amy Khor, shared in the opening speech at the Forum, “The community care sector is a sunrise sector that offers many good job opportunities for Singaporeans who wish to pursue a meaningful career, be it as senior care associates looking after the elderly in the centres, therapy aides working with seniors on their rehabilitation, or healthcare assistants who care for the daily needs of residents in a nursing home.”

She also mentioned the Government is expanding the capacity of home care and centre-based care. By 2020, it will increase home care places by some 50 percent, she said, to 10,000 places and double the number of daycare places at the centres to 6,200 places.


Manpower initiatives

The four initiatives include the Community Care Discovery Programme (CCDP) that offers potential job-seekers an opportunity to experience the sector and gain a deeper understanding of the roles of community support care workers. They will spend three days with a community care provider to observe how care is provided to seniors and understand the different roles within the care teams. Trainees who complete the discovery programme will receive an allowance of S$5 per hour or S$120 in total, to defray transport, meals and other expenses. The attachment can be done full- or part-time.

AIC is also planning to organise five regional Community Care job fairs between May 2015 and March 2016 to help Singaporeans find community care jobs near their homes. A fair was held in May at Nee Soon Central offering close to 400 jobs. AIC will also be organising learning visits and industry previews for residents living nearby to help potential employees better understand the work in the sector. At these visits, the community care providers will also share on their organisations, philosophy of care, and the services they provide.

Singaporeans keen to join the sector can also sign up for a five-day traineeship programme for new senior care associates, healthcare attendants and therapy aides to equip them with the necessary skills. It is open to those who are new to the sector with no prior healthcare experience, as well as recent entrants to the sector. The course fees for the training will be co-funded by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the employing institution, and an allowance of S$6 per hours during the classroom training will be reimbursed to them upon successful employment in the community care sector.

To retain good staff, Singaporeans who join the sector from June 1 this year as community support care staff can receive a “Welcome-to-Community Care” bonus which is equivalent to an additional month of their basic salary, at the end of their first year of employment.


Investing in scaling up & expansion of service models

Also announced at the Forum was Tote Board’s commitment of about S$100 million under the Community Healthcare Fund which will support new pilots to test-bed innovative care models in preventive health services or in aged care. The Fund also has enabled voluntary welfare organisations to develop and scale up their care services. For instance, the Fund has supported Handicaps Welfare Association to develop and start a comprehensive range of home care services, including home medical, home nursing and home therapy services, and Yong-En Care Centre to develop and expand its nurse-led model of home care services to serve the residents in Chinatown.

Said AIC’s CEO Dr Jason Cheah: “With the ongoing expansion of care facilities and services, the community care sector offers a wealth of job opportunities in various care settings across Singapore. Manpower recruitment will remain a key priority for AIC and MOH. We will work closely with our service providers to accelerate the pace of hiring. We hope that the awareness-building efforts, as well as the targeted regional recruitment fairs and new training incentives will excite more Singaporeans to seriously consider pursuing a career in this sector. And by joining the sector, it is our hope that Singaporeans will find great fulfilment in being able to contribute towards improving the lives of seniors.”





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