The SME Talent Programme expects to place some 3,000 students in 800 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the next five years.

The plan is drawn up by government agency SPRING, together with trade associations and chambers.

About half of the students will come from the ITEs.

The programme, launched in June this year, aims to address challenges that small businesses face in attracting local talents.

Minister of State for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said the programme will also provide ITE students with the opportunity of securing a job before they graduate.

Mr Teo said: “Our ITEs train them with the skill sets which are really the needs of industry, and it will meet some of the SMEs which are lacking in talent today.

“I talked to several SMEs and they are very keen to employ ITE students and also offer them opportunities to go up all the way to polytechnics and get their diplomas as well, if the student can prove themselves to be value-added to the company.

“So I believe that this SME Talent Programme can actually meet and close the shortage in the gaps of SMEs. And if I have to expand the programme to have more students join SME, we will not hesitate (to do so).

“We want to ensure that the students are entering a company that has a solid structured HR system. We want to make sure that they have a HR programme that can help groom the students and develop them, so we are quite careful with that.”

Source: Channel News Asia.