Updated: 03/14/2014 00:05

New centralised scheme of service to strengthen social services manpower

New centralised scheme of service to strengthen social services manpower

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing has announced a new centralised career development scheme to attract and groom more professional and organisational leaders for the social service sector. 

This is part of a two-pronged approach to strengthen manpower for the sector. 

Speaking during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate, Mr Chan says the new scheme will recruit and develop social service professionals as an integrated body. 

He says the National Council of Social Services will start the scheme by this year, together with many Voluntary Welfare Organisations, or VWOs. 

Under this scheme, social service professionals will be centrally recruited, decentralised to the various agencies, and have their careers tracked through the shared and pooled service. 

They'll also contribute to sector-wide projects. 

Mr Chan says this scheme is in response to the feedback he's received from the social service sector, which includes: 

The desire to be cross-deployed, so they can better understand the sector, And to build networks across different VWOs so they can work more closely together. 

" For our younger social workers, they asked if they can have a better system to manage their career development and deployment. Some want to specialise, others want to be given opportunities to understand the sector from governance to execution, so they can be better prepared to be leaders in the years to come. We have heard them."

The other part of the ministry's two-pronged approach is to provide greater support to professionals and leaders employed by the VWOs. 

Mr Chan says his ministry will broaden its focus from social workers to other professionals as they all work in multi-disciplinary teams. 

"We will open up the development opportunities to all social service professionals: social workers, therapists, psychologists, early intervention teachers and counsellors. We are all one big family."

In the short term, professional and leadership development programmes will be expanded, post-graduate studies in a wider range of disciplines will be offered, and the sabbatical leave scheme will be continued. 

And in the longer term, the Continuing Professional Development pathways will continue to be expanded. 

Mr Chan added that the ministry also wants to attract professionals in corporate and administrative functions to join the sector. 

More details will be announced in the later part of this year. 

-By Lianne Chia

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