By Ryan Chan
There’s a new initiative in town to give mature Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs) aged 40 and above a boost in helping them re-enter the workforce. Launched on 16 July 2015, the initiative is called Career Reactivation Programme (CAP).
A team-up between NTUC-PME Unit and local social enterprise GioCareers, CAP is a peer-to-peer support programme that trains volunteers to become Career Activists to help mature PMEs who have trouble looking for jobs after becoming unemployed past the age of 40. The Career Activists will work towards forming a close-knit community with other mature PMEs and provide counselling, coaching and opportunities to network.
“Our mature PMEs are corporate warriors with a wealth of experience, knowledge and perspectives. Together with the NTUC PME Unit, we designed and developed CAP according to their unique needs and characteristics, so that our mature PMEs feel comfortable, engaged and respected.
“As the programme name suggests, we aim to activate PMEs by instilling positivity, drive and confidence in them during difficult periods of their career journey,” said GioCareers CEO Hector Lin.
Results from the Ministry of Manpower’s Labour Force Survey showed that the unemployment rate of PMEs have increased 0.2 percent from 2013 to 2.6 percent in 2014. The rate of re-entry into the workforce for PMETs is also only 48.6 percent, which is lower than the national average of 54.6 percent.
NTUC has also seen similar numbers at its U PME Centres. Of the 805 PMEs assisted from January 2014 to July 2015, 69 percent were mature PMEs, with about more than half of them seeking job placements.
The importance of rendering support to PMEs who may have become disillusioned or discouraged has seen the need for a community-scale support network.
Two pilot sessions of the programme took place earlier this year, on 16 June and 14 July. Unemployed mature PMEs were given a platform to voice concerns and challenges of seeking employment after being made redundant.
Feedback from these sessions show PMEs see the value in receiving advice from the Career Activists as well as widening their network.
The programme has received the thumbs up from U Live @ Work Alignment Director James Tan: “U Live is heartened to know that more is done for our evergreen workers. We believe that with the launch of the programme, it will enable PMEs to make connections, and receive help when necessary. It also serves as a good platform to know the problems on the ground. We will work closely together to serve our PMEs better.”
Encouragement and Support
One person looking forward to the programme is Chong Kum Hong, a 53-year-old who attended the first pilot session in June. The interviews he went for since becoming unemployed left him disheartened, especially when faced with age discrimination.
After attending the session, it left him encouraged and helped him to understand the situation better. An example, he shared, is the difference in employment practices and requirements for positions today.
“It has helped us to understand that it’s not about not being good enough, but aligning our interests with potential employers.
“It is good to know we are not alone and that, as union members, we collectively have a stronger voice to potential employers on how mature PMEs like us can value-add to the organisation,” Mr Chong said.
NTUC Assistant Secretary-General and PME Unit Director Patrick Tay added: “Mature PMEs, especially those who are unemployed, face particularly unique work-related challenges, and it takes more than just career advice to help them overcome their difficulties.
“With the encouragement, motivation and inspiration from Career Activists, mature PMEs will stand to benefit from a holistic network of support across volunteerism, career coaching, mental counselling and social services that CAP offers.
Source: NTUC This Week