SINGAPORE: Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Mr S Iswaran has said it is important that seniors are made aware of the opportunities available to them so they can continue to stay in the workforce.
He was speaking on the sidelines of an inaugural Seniors' Carnival at West Coast Constituency on Sunday.
At this year's May Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said the government is looking into giving more support for older workers who want to work beyond retirement and the employers who hire them.
Sunday's carnival was organised by the West Coast Community Centre to give the elderly a chance to meet with various agencies to find work, get opportunities to upgrade themselves and do voluntary work.
Madam Guay Lay Geok, 72, has been looking for a job for a while. Hoping to earn some cash, she is open to work in all industries.
But so far, the retiree has found the job hunt somewhat challenging.
"I don't know why. Maybe we are slow? But for me, I'm not slow. I can work very fast. But because of the age...they take younger ones," said Madam Guay.
So the Seniors' Carnival at West Coast hopes to give senior citizens like Madam Guay a leg-up.
Several agencies were on hand to talk to senior citizens about workfare training, courses in cyberspace and volunteering opportunities.
Mr Iswaran, who is also adviser to West Coast Grassroots Organisations, said: "It's more about understanding what the opportunities are for the seniors, so making them more aware of what they can continue to do in the workforce in a manner that is consistent with their own aspirations."
Mr Iswaran, who is also the Second Minister for Home Affairs & Trade and Industry, added that encouraging an active and healthy lifestyle amongst seniors will put them in a good position for employment.
While community events can help senior citizens find opportunities for work, some people Channel NewsAsia spoke to said companies can help too, through job re-design and training.
Leong Su Yin, a senior volunteer at RSVP Singapore, said: "Training should be good, at least to instil more confidence in them, so that they know that 'we are equal, I have been in training so I think I can manage my work just as good as you, too'. The seniors do have the experience and the talent to offer."
The Seniors' Carnival attracted some 500 residents from the West Coast Constituency and organisers hope to bring it back next year. - CNA/ir
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