Life can bring about unexpected turns, but also deliver fresh opportunities.

Mr Mark Tan was at his wits’ end after being laid off in 2019. Having worked for 39 years, the 57-year old former project manager felt a looming sense of uncertainty.

The father of three could not find suitable job opportunities and even considered early retirement. Fortunately, things changed when he applied to be a frontline volunteer with the SG Healthcare Corps, which led him to a new career.

Mr Tan is currently working as a healthcare assistant at St.Andrew’s Nursing Home (Queenstown), and will be transferred to St. John’s-St. Margaret’s Nursing Home (SJSMNH), when the sister institution begins operations in 2021.

Fresh beginnings
Mr Tan was initially unsure if he could pick up new skills as fast as his younger co-workers, but quickly discovered that his skills in time management, communication and eye for detail are useful in his new role.

As a healthcare assistant, he works closely with other health care professionals such as doctors and nurses to care for the nursing home’s residents. For example, he helps nurses feed and shower residents, and also keeps family members informed of their well-being.

His presence at SJSMNH will be much appreciated too. Ms Winnie Chan, the nursing home’s executive director, says they welcome people like Mr Tan who do not have healthcare experience but are keen to work in the sector: “With Mark’s wonderful attitude and leadership qualities, we are optimistic he can go far in this sector. We’re committed to training passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds to join us in our Community Care team.”

“I am thankful for this opportunity. It brings me joy to contribute towards providing the best care for our seniors,” says Mr Tan.

Rewarding opportunities in healthcare

Mr Tan is one of the many Singaporeans who have benefited from the SGUnited Jobs initiative, where up to 7,500 jobs and about 1,600 traineeships, work attachments and skills training opportunities will be offered progressively till 2021 in the healthcare sector.

Ms Priscilla Teo, group chief human resource officer at National University Health System, says: “A wide array of jobs is available including patient support care, medical informatics specialists, administrative and ancillary roles for fresh graduates and mid-career entrants with or without healthcare experience.”

Such opportunities are easily accessible via the Virtual Career Fair (VCF), an online career search portal launched by Workforce Singapore.

Ms Lim May Ling, director of Strategic Human Resource at SingHealth, adds: “Healthcare is a dynamic and growing industry which is ever so exciting and fulfilling. We offer a compelling environment to realise one’s personal and professional aspirations, and opportunities to make a difference, improve health outcomes and define tomorrow’s medicine. ”

That said, a willingness to learn is necessary. As Ms Rosemary Soong, director of Group Human Resource at National Healthcare Group, says: “As healthcare advances, it is crucial for healthcare workers to keep abreast of the latest developments. The healthcare sector strives to provide learning opportunities for new entrants and mid-career switchers.”

As for Mr Tan, he is grateful for a fresh start in healthcare — especially since the work is so meaningful and rewarding.

Interested individuals may wish to attend the upcoming VCF for Community Care jobs, which will be held from 19 October to 1 November.