PEOPLE who want to work with the elderly are to get a career path and training ladder drawn up by the Government.

In a bid to draw more workers into the sector, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) is asking experts to develop a new subsidised training course for those without experience. It cited housewives and retirees as examples.

The WDA said that the move will "professionalise the training of care workers".

"The new qualification will focus more on skills to provide direct care to the elderly and support their rehabilitation," said a spokesman. "More details will be available in the second half of the year."

The Straits Times understands that the experts have been asked to develop a course that puts trainees through 130 hours of training.

It will be subsidised by the Government by up to 90 per cent and those who complete it will receive a new Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) certificate.

The entry-level certificate will allow holders to start working as eldercare assistants before moving along a career path that could see them trained for jobs such as eldercare centre managers.

The sector had 4,000 workers as at 2012, but demand for such employees is expected to rise fourfold by 2020 due to the ageing population.

More than a million people have trained under the WSQ - a national programme to subsidise training - since it started in 2005.

The WDA's move is being backed by the sector.

"This is definitely timely, as the older adult population is growing," said Ms Peggy Ong, NTUC Eldercare's director of human resources. "Services need to be scaled up quickly to meet their needs. It is not always easy or pleasant to do the job of caregiving to the elderly. (We) encourage such workers by regularly recognising them for their efforts and showing appreciation for the work they do."

Introducing the initiative "as soon as possible" will attract new staff, said Mr Kavin Seow, director of home care services at Touch Community Services.

He hopes it will cater to those "who may not be highly educated but are still effective in performing a service to the elderly".

He also suggested that the curriculum include home-based caregiving. The voluntary welfare organisation has more than 40 staff members who visit the homes of 1,600 elderly people living alone, to look after their medical needs.

The WDA says on its website that entry-level jobs in the sector - such as day-care assistants - pay between $1,100 and $1,500 a month, while managers who run programmes for seniors earn as much as $2,500 each month.

"The courses available are quite piecemeal and fragmented and some are generic and broad-based," said Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities divisional director Joseph Cheong, who hopes the training will be subsidised by the Government and tied to pay rises. "Remuneration for eldercare workers should be reviewed."