The i-Ready apprenticeship programme is considered one of the most successful job training schemes ever introduced to young graduates in the country. With over 3,000 people having gone through the scheme, it provides companies an opportunity to utilise and train graduates in various sectors, thereby reducing labour cost and upskilling the youth. In turn, the fresh graduates can earn a decent income during their tenure, thus making it a win-win arrangement.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc on the economy, leading to a shortage of skilled labour, especially in the private sector.
With a huge portion of people having completed their i-Ready apprenticeship and remaining unemployed or underemployed, I believe a reset is in order, to allow these youngsters to continue picking up valuable skills before landing a better prospect. Such an arrangement will also give reprieve to companies to fulfil their skilled labour demand with full access to trained graduates in these trying times.
Of course, it would require additional public investment to extend the tenure of these apprentices.
But ultimately, it will pay off in the long run as a one-year extension to the i-Ready contract will soften the blow of the pandemic to the private sector, workforce and the government.
Road To Recovery