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Career tips for PMEs at new centre

One-stop service centre in city for professionals, managers and execs

Career tips for PMEs at new centre

Office workers in Shenton Way. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

THE 488,000 professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) here now have a dedicated career-resource centre to help them polish their resumes and give them career-development guidance.

Set up by the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) as a one-stop service centre in the city for PMEs, the centre, called CaliberLink, was one of four initiatives unveiled yesterday. The others are:

An improved website listing the salaries of 343 PME jobs and containing a job-profiling tool;

A free cellphone application that condenses the website and can match personality traits with jobs - which will be launched in May; and

A quirky cellphone game in which users can, for starters, pretend to be a chef or a nurse.

At the heart of these measures, which cost the WDA $2 million, is a push for PMEs to upgrade their skills.

The measures come on the heels of the Manpower Ministry's pledge during the Budget debate to extend more help to PMEs to find jobs.

Yesterday, Minister of State for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin said CaliberLink will help those out of a job and looking for one, or who are between jobs and looking to make a career switch; the centre can assess their skills and needs, and help in the matching process.

CaliberLink, sited at the junction of Bras Basah Road and Waterloo Street opposite the Singapore Art Museum, is about the size of nine HDB five-room flats.

At a media briefing yesterday, WDA chief executive Wong Hong Kuan explained its range of services for job-seekers and showcased its high-tech classrooms, which are to be used for career workshops.

A WDA official hinted that the two national Continuing Education & Training campuses being built in Jurong East and Paya Lebar may be similar in set-up.

For now, it has not been decided whether CaliberLink will stay open after those two campuses are ready at the end of next year.

Mr Wong said the WDA prefers that most of its services for PMEs be tapped online, such as through its improved website and mobile application.

The job prospects, the impact of economic restructuring on PMEs and the need for them to keep their skills abreast of industry's needs are uppermost in Mr Tan's mind.

He said: 'We are all watching how the economy unfolds; obviously a lot depends on what happens elsewhere.'

He added that if industries had to be restructured, then people may have to move from one industry to another.

'This is where we can come in - in terms of retraining,' he said.

Speaking to the media after visiting CaliberLink, he held up as models PMEs who overcame retrenchment or who made a successful switch from one industry to another.

For example, Mr Edward Hsu, a 49-year-old father of two, was unemployed for more than a year after a career in IT.

He approached the WDA and received tips on resume writing from a personal coach, and has since found a job as an IT project manager with foreign bank BNP Paribas.

And then there is Ms Gladys Ding, 47, who was laid off last year.

The financial-sector veteran, no stranger to retrenchment, had also lost her job in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis and in 2001 during the recession.

A CaliberLink job counsellor took her through the paces of preparing for job interviews.

She landed a job as a trader in a fund-management company and starts her new job next month.

She has this piece of advice for PMEs who are retrenched:

'Stay positive. Don't despair. There are many aids available.'

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