In order to fill the expected 9,000 healthcare job openings in the next three years, the Ministry of Health (MOH) will invest $24 million into schemes to encourage more Singaporeans, particularly mid-career professionals, to join the sector.
“Approximately 50 per cent of these jobs are PMET-level roles,” said Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor in Parliament on Thursday (9 March), referring to professionals, managers, executives and technicians.
These roles include nurses, therapists, administrative executives and operation managers, she said during the ministry’s Committee of Supply debate.
“The positive news is that growth in the healthcare sector will bring many good jobs, clinical and non-clinical, and at different levels for Singaporeans,” said Khor.
Among the initiatives to attract mid-career professionals will be an increase in funding for Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) in nursing, which will see employers co-fund just 10 per cent of the training costs, down from 20 to 50 per cent currently.
MOH will also provide new on-the-job training support – $12,000 per mid-career enrolled nurse and $16,000 per mid-career registered nurse – to employers. Enrolled nurses assist registered nurses in patient care, with the latter performing more medical duties.
The ministry will also introduce a two-year overseas nursing scholarship to help non-nursing graduates pursue a Graduate Entry Masters nursing programme. These graduates will enter the industry as registered nurses upon completing their course. Twenty such scholarships will be awarded each year, said Khor.
More mid-career Singaporeans will also be trained by the Regional Health Systems as care coordinator associates to oversee post-discharge care services required by patients and guide them to take care of themselves at home.
About 200 basic care assistant positions will also be opened up at some public hospitals – a job which entails providing personal care to patients, such as feeding. Employers will be provided on-the-job training support of $10,000 per basic care assistant hired.
There will also be more job openings in the aged care sector for mid-career professionals with managerial experience via the Senior Management Associate Scheme.
The Agency of Integrated Care will also come up with “bite-size” training schemes to encourage more people into taking up healthcare and therapy assistant roles. On-the-job training support of $10,000 will be offered to employers for each of such workers employed.
Seeking to draw former nurses back into the profession, MOH will also – through its “Return to Nursing” programme – offer those joining the aged care sector support for their refresher training fees and allow them to draw full salaries during the three-month training period. These nurses will also stand to receive a bonus of between $3,000 and $5,000.