Like many other jobseekers in this time of a pandemic, Mr J Chua, 25, is increasingly concerned about his job search as the weeks go by. Mr Chua is a youth graduate from National University of Singapore. In a Straits Times report, he shared how he was initially hoping for a private sector job in international relations, but soon realised he could not be choosy. Most of the companies he applied to did not reply, and for those that did, no job offers came through.
Millions of youths across the globe can tell a similar story. The pandemic is particularly devastating for young jobseekers – and especially so for the ones with heavy financial burdens and seeking their first positions.
The class of 2020 is graduating in the midst of a pandemic. It’s hard not to sympathise with them! Afterall these ambitious youths have stumbled upon a recession brought on by an unprecedented pandemic. For many of them, their future career prospects have already been damaged by the Covid-19 pandemic before they even hit the track. Many others are facing retrenchments in their mid-twenties. It’s hard for it not to affect your self-confidence.
Anxiety levels among youth jobseekers have increased in the past 6 months. Our youth jobseekers are increasingly overwhelmed. To a lot of youths, landing a job now practically feels “impossible”.
“Where do I go from here?” “What if my area of studies is in a sector badly hit by the pandemic?”
Concerns about future employment prospects are weighing heavily on young minds. 28-year-old Steven (not his real name), who was recently retrenched from his high-paying first job as an investment banker shared that he felt as if everything he has worked for and sacrificed in his university days is now “going to waste”.
At a time when much of the country has been at a standstill, and employment opportunities are reduced, our youths need extra support. How can we allow this crisis to hurt the aspirations and prospects of our nation’s youths?
Thankfully, there are resources out there to support Singapore’s young jobseekers in this time of crisis.
The SGUnited Traineeships Programme is one such initiative. It aims to support recent graduates from University, Polytechnics, and ITEs with traineeship opportunities. The government will fund 80 % of the training allowance, while the host company funds the rest.
Graduates would also receive an estimated monthly training allowance of $1,100 to $2,500, depending on their qualifications.
Through this programme, locals who just graduated from ITE, polytechnics, universities and other educational institutions will be able to gain valuable industry-related experience. Following the completion of the traineeship, organisations can also consider suitable trainees for permanent positions.
LIT, an initiative by Young NTUC, is also offering support for our youths with interim jobs, support and resources all in one stop. This allows youths to get access to employers virtually for interviews, career-related resources and insights.
The Youth Career Network Virtual Mentorship also allows youths to connect with industry professionals for valuable insights on their personal and career development. They can also attached to their mentor of choice through these programmes for two months. These sharing and learning opportunities will go a long way in value-adding to our youths’ job search journeys.
Our young people needs help to ride out this challenging time – everyone in the society needs to work together to stop the economic effects of this pandemic from disrupting these young graduates and young workers’ lives.
It is undeniable that being unemployed when you’re young can lead to lasting damage in terms of future income and career prospects. Now, we don’t want these youth graduates’ mental health to suffer too! Let’s do our part to ensure that all young people can access employment opportunities, and training support so that they can be motivated to go on in these turbulent times. A temporary job or a traineeship is definitely a better option than being unemployed. It helps builds valuable hard and soft skills.
On a brighter note, many youths do believe the pandemic will make their generation more resilient!
Class of 2020, you are facing a ton of difficulties graduating in the midst of a pandemic. Remember though, that these circumstances do not negate all your achievements thus far. As a youth graduate, you have been resilient during a challenging time for the world!
Have no doubt that by being more proactive in seeking out training, upskilling or even reskilling opportunities and expanding your network, you will be in a good position to beat the odds. Afterall, you have the support of a nation!
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