The National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) has officially launched its "Youth Taskforce" on Jul. 23.
The launch, which took place at LIT DISCOvery 2022 – Young NTUC’s annual signature symposium – was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong.
He was joined by NTUC President Mary Liew, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng, Young NTUC Executive Secretary Wendy Tan, and NTUC Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Desmond Choo, who also chairs the new Youth Task Force.
More than one in five youths struggle with career
According to a press release from NTUC, multiple survey findings had revealed that "more than one in five youths" struggle with career opportunities, and desire support for career guidance and planning.
These insights were gathered from 2,039 youths aged between 18 to 35 years old, in surveys and focus group discussions conducted by NTUC in 2022.
The top three challenges faced by youths in an April 2022 survey was identified to be in areas related to career opportunities and prospects (56 per cent), finances (54 per cent), and mental well-being (52 per cent).
It was also found that most youths preferred to resolve work-related problems on their own or seek help from family members and friends, rather than authorities and organisations.
Most youths also found job and internship opportunities (29 per cent), skills workshops (25 per cent) and career mentoring (19 per cent) to be the most useful, according to another survey conducted by Young NTUC in February 2022.
Engaging 10,000 youths over 12 months
The new NTUC Youth Taskforce will engage 10,000 youths in the coming year, to dive deeper into the needs and work-life aspirations of the younger generation.
NTUC shared that it will engage the youths, aged 18 to 25 years old, in a year-long series of activities, to find out more about their goals, anxieties, and worries at the workplace and in the workforce.
At the end of the 12 months, the NTUC Youth Taskforce will then share insights and recommendations on how to better support Singapore's youths in their careers, as they transition from being students to working adults.
NTUC Secretary-General Ng said in his opening address: “It is a major effort to be undertaken by young NTUC. We want to be there for you to understand your needs, your aspirations, your challenges, and importantly, to co-create with you on the future that you design [...] We want to refresh our workers compact with the working class in Singapore."
Ng went on to add that NTUC had already made "inroads" with government agencies and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), as part of its effort to reach out to the youths.
Beyond youths in schools, the taskforce will also partner with self-help groups, youth-targeted organisations, and youth groups, to engage young Singaporeans who have already transited into the workforce, and are pursuing non-traditional tracks like sports, arts and entrepreneurship.
DPM Lawrence Wong: NTUC must continue to be forward looking & progressive
In his opening address, DPM Lawrence Wong emphasised the need for NTUC to continue being forward-looking and progressive, especially as Singapore aims to refresh its social compact.
He shared: "Our unions must stay relevant in our changing landscape and be responsive to fresh challenges and [be] representative of our changing workforce."
According to Wong, NTUC will also have to adapt to changing trends as it continues to organise and mobilise the bulk of the workforce. He added:
"For example, we now have a better educated workforce, represented by all of you young students here. We will have a rising share of professionals, managers and executives in our workforce.
That means NTUC will have to find new ways to engage you to meet your aspirations and concerns, even while continuing to look after the rank and file workers.
We [will] also see major changes in the nature of work, with the rise of gig and remote work, creating new concerns and challenges."
For more details on how you can participate as a youth, you can visit www.youthtaskforce.sg to find out more.
Top image via Young NTUC Facebook