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Sunday January 20th 2019

Whistle blower: “Only one out of twenty who completed WDA-funded logistics course managed to get an internship attachment!”

In 2007, after I was retrenched from my managerial  position, I decided to seek assistance from CDC who later referred me to WDA for some upgrading courses.

Upgrading was a big word then and everyone who seeked support from CDC was required to sign up for any courses that were available.

Globalisation has hurt  us quite badly and companies continued to pull out of Singapore for cheaper locations. Hundreds of MNCs must have pulled out of our country during that period as the huge semi-con industry took a big hit.

I selected SIMM’s certificate in logistics as it was short-term – 6 weeks full time and there was the promise of possible internship with selected companies. I was keen on switching to a career in logistics all along and the course was like a dream came true.

The fact that WDA  funded me  for the entire cost fee of $3000  was also  a push factor for me to join.  Its better than staying at home waiting for the employers to call you for an interview and jobs were in scarcity then.

There was also no bond tied to the contract and you only need to complete the course failing which you have to pay back the whole course fee in its entirety.

After packing up my books from university for so long,  it was refreshing returning back to the classroom again Рtogether with 20 other jobless PMETs in similar plight.

Most of them were in their 40s with some in their early 50s. They came from all walks of life Рsome were engineers, others IT specialists,  technicians and purchasers.

However, we all shared one common bond – we were jobless because of the new economy and sometimes I wondered if globalisation is such a good thing after all if it has rendered so many people worldwide out of job.

Besides absorbing about the nuts and bolts on logistics, it was fun socialising and networking with my classmates who incidentally were mostly  males.

Six weeks blazed by quickly and we were all offered our certificate from the course provider SIMM. Incidentally, the lecturers were great and we learned alot during that period.

There was however  not much mention of the promised internship posting to a logistics company and some of us were naturally anxious.

We have depended on the internship attachment as a stepping stone to any employment opportunity and if this is not readily available many of us would not have wasted our time attending the course – even though its free.

Weeks passed and there was still no news of a possible internship and my heart sunk.

Surely the government can do something and at least arm twist a few logistics companies to offer us an attachment?

Later on, I  heard that only one out of the twenty participants managed to clinch an attachment and that was because he already had prior experience working in that sector. The rest of us were left in the cold.

Not only had we wasted six weeks of our time but the immense disappointment was difficult to stomach.

It told me a while to overcome that emotional upheaval and of course my trust in  any government aid agency nosedived after that incident.

I also could not recall anyone of us ever utilise the certificate to land us a career in logistics.

Moreover, WDA wasted $60, 000 of  our hard-earned tax paying money on 20 unemployed local Singaporeans and I wondered how much money was flushed down the drain in total for meaningless upgrading courses which have brought us no tangible benefit whatsoever.

The government ought to ask themselves what are the kind of courses that will really benefit the PMETs before sending them out for the lessons. 

If  not, the whole upgrading exercise will only benefit course providers who could make millions within a very short period.

I have known of some course providers who were set up specially  to tap into the upgrading funds  of the government and later closed down when the need died down.

Its apparent that skills-based courses are more relevant for the new economy rather than theoretical lessons taught mostly from text books. 

Healthcare, and social work courses¬†ought ¬†to be ramped up as there is a need for more workers in these two sectors. Matured PMETs who are in their twilight career won’t mind switching over to these two sectors if its feasible.

They won’t mind a much lesser pay¬†check as most of us know that our good earning days are over. We just want something to do that will make us feel good about our society.

I was also told that PMETS took many upgrading courses at  their own cost but these were not up for subsidy as they are not on the upgrading list. 

WDA ought to revamp how they subsidise courses and if possible  allocate a small  training allowance to any deserving local Singaporeans who are in the mid 40s and out of work.

They can use it for any upgrading courses that they see fit subject to a maximum quota. The government  also needs to trust our local Singaporean PMETs alot more for this to work well.

This way, WDA does not run the risk of sending PMETs to courses that will not benefit them at all and our jobless PMETs can take up any courses that they feel best match their needs for upgrading.

Its an ideal win-win situation for all…

Written by: Disappointed PMET

Editor’s Note: The writer has since destroyed his certificate from SIMM. The interview was conducted recently and¬†he is currently still jobless after working on contract for a while. Though WDA has spent tens of millions of tax payer money on upgrading courses, it has yet to provide any concrete data how many of these matured jobless PMETS found jobs after attending the courses. This article was forwarded to the relevant ministries and WDA for their response if any.

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Reader Feedback

18 Responses to “Whistle blower: “Only one out of twenty who completed WDA-funded logistics course managed to get an internship attachment!””

  1. Johnson Australia says:

    If memory serves me right, studying a course does not gurantee you a job. During the first lesson, your lecturer would have told you that. Even a degree does not gurantee you a job. Would advise you to check with NCSS if they have a sponsored dip/degree in social work as social work/ healthcare line will always be in demand. WDA also has a enrolled nurse course which takes 1.5 years. All the best.

  2. Johnny L'Ong says:

    I have spent 2 years on nursing course. Paid course fees but given allowance each month. Graduated last May. Took me 5 months to find a job. But distance too far from home etc. Long story. But I take responsibility.

    Now I’m in transition looking for another job. 3months still no go.

    Due to this course, I have a huge bond hanging over my head. If not able to find job, then I’m liable to pay tens of thousand of dollars.


  3. Johnny L'Ong says:

    Btw, I will be 50 years old soon. I’m a EEE diploma holder. Worked 7 years then upgraded to an engineering degree. Total working experience approx 20 years working experience.

    Since 2004 I studied and applied for jobs. Till 2007 I started driving taxi for a year. Then I joined the nursing course in 2009.

    It’s 8 years already and still finding my cheese. Ha.

  4. Anon says:

    Healthcare line is attractive only if you’re in ang moh countries like Australia. In S’pore you’ll be competing with younger and cheaper peenois, ah nehs, cheenas, etc. Also, if you’re mid-career 35+, local hospitals and medical centres will look pass you.

    To Johnny: Dunno if you’re for real or not, but suggest you go for those community hospitals or even hospices run by VWOs e.g. Ren Ci, Thye Hwa Kwan, Kwong Wai Shiu, St Luke’s, St Andrews, Assisi, etc etc. The pay is quite crappy due to budget constraints, even worse than normal hospital fresh nurse pay. That’s why they mostly use 3rd world foreign nursing staff and many don’t match to local diploma standards. But they need and want local nurses. At least you can fulfil your nursing bond criteria. While working and gaining experience, you may want to check out working in countries like Australia or US or Canada or UK where nursing pay is MUCH HIGHER. But depends on your family needs. And also your age will be disadvantage. No harm giving it your best shot and be persistent if you really want it.

    • Johnny L'Ong says:

      Thanks Anon,for your kind advice. It’s a cruel world I live in. Looks like I have a longggg while more to go to find my cheese.

      Great site Gilbert. Nice to know there are others in the maze with me.

  5. Anon says:

    Oh btw, it is open secret that those WDA-facilitated courses and public money funded training, so-called upgrading, re-skilling, SPUR, and what-nots only serve to enrich the trainers and course-providers. It also serves to give civil servants jobs in WDA, CDC, e2i, CDAC, Mendaki, Sinda, etc etc, and also give propaganda to PAP.

    The vast majority of these taxpayer money just went down the drain. Mostly are useless and definitely not utilised by workers or employers. E.g. SPUR was basically govt subsidy and transfer of money to companies in order to keep workers on the payroll. Less than 1% even tried to make use of the SPUR training.

    Anyway the $60K cost for the writer’s batch is really peanuts to the govt. The ministries and senior civil servants easily spend 10X that much on monthly business lunches and dinner entertainments and gala events. Each ministry and stat board D&D already cost at least half-million each. $60K? Not even enough to wipe the backsides of the admin service scholars.

    • Johnny L'Ong says:

      This bond is not ‘real’. The subsidy afforded to the training provider(NYP) is more or less a fixed cost and not calculated on a per head basis.

      They just figured out a number to tie us down with. Btw the amount keeps growing with every batch. Minus the allowances given over 2 years, it’s still a sizeable amount.

      Caveat emptor to all. Learn from my experience.

      To all those contemplating taking up this course, do think it over and over and over very carefully. Do not let desperation over-ride everything.

      • Anon says:

        This is part of the so-called Professional Conversion Programme run by WDA in partnership with training providers and prospective employers. The bond is standard civil service-style and easily calculated.

        The liquidated damages (LD) of the bond is based on the total training costs + allowances = Y. Y is then compounded by 10% interest for X years. Where X is the length of the bond. That PCP programme requires a 3-yr bond, so the compounding will be 1.1^3 – 1 = 33.1%.

        So total LD if you break bond without even serving 1 month = 1.331Y.
        The LD is pro-rated. Every month you serve the bond, the LD will be reduced proportionately.
        E.g. If you already served 2 yrs out of the 3-yr bond, you pay 1/3 of the original LD.

        The reason why the LD for the PCP programmes have been going up is because the fees for Nanyang Poly (and all other polys and unis too) have been going up yearly. So is naturally factored into the LD.

        And the poly fees they use to compute your LD is based on the so-called unsubsidised school fees, not the same as the subsidised fees paid by the young poly students (both citizens and PRs and even foreigners). The full unsubsidised Poly fees for nursing course is about $9+K a year.

        • Johnny L'Ong says:

          Thanks for the clear explanation on how bond value is arrive at. I’m not going to quibble over the $9K figure. Ha.

          Doesn’t make me feel any better though.

          I take full responsibility for what’s happened.

          Just have to figure a way out of it that is acceptable to me.

          Thanks again Anon.

  6. Al says:

    Several years ago i took a course in a local trg provider (organized by gahment) in logistics & supply chain for the sake of career switching. Same thing, the trg provider & gahment can’t guarantee that u will get an internship & landed up a job in the logistics field. Nevertheless i took up course with excitement thinking that som ‘good’ or ‘kind’ employer will hire me but it was a great disappointment. Towards the course end, trg provider did bring in ‘potential’ employer of logistics field, but most were surprise by some many unemployed PMET and some sympathize our ‘jobless’ state as we network. Not many got the internship (estimated is less than half out of a class of about 30 trainees). Some were lucky due to their job matches the employer but most of them were disappointed, including myself. At the end , i gave up trying to enter into logistic field (as most logistics /SCM companies relocated to China or India due to cost & its proximity location to customers). In order to survive, I took up a lower pay job (salary : 1.6k) to work as a technician in a semi-con sub con local employer, since then have switch to another local company (pay below 2k) about a year & now still looking for a job as the company may be squeezing its staffs out due to poor business & extra manpower. What can i do now? plse advise.

  7. Lost Ichigo says:

    I got retrenched about 4 weeks back, now age 42. Previously working in IT line in MNC for 16 years, got a EEE degree. I was not ready for retrenchment, and now lost as to what to do next. I did sent out 3 job apps to gov sector so far, waiting for reply.

    I could either keep looking for same IT line of job, or retrain for a different field. Judging by this WDA thing, it doesn’t seem to help us. Now really lost, seems like above 40 age is downhill for singaporeans.

    Any advices?

    • Johnny L'Ong says:

      Hi Lost Ichigo,

      Don’t want to hog Gilbert’s wonderful site here. But have you gone to any of these agencies – e2i, CDC and Calibrelink?

      They are running some 2 days courses to help you find out what to do next. Quite useful for a start.

      If I were you, register with MOE for relief teaching. Good rates. Try it out then consider going full time. Good pay but not so easy job. After 3 years bond, be tuition teacher.

      • Lost Ichigo says:

        hi Johnny,

        How come got 3 agencies? Which one better suited for me?
        Now i regretted never moonlight as tutor in my childhood days :)

        Thanks for the advice.

  8. Johnny L'Ong says:

    Hi Lost Ichigo,

    Be Singaporean – kiasu. Go for all 3. They kinda overlap but you should cast a wide net. Never know what you might catch.

    Hope you find a job in the same industry. Do give teaching a try. I wish I knew earlier. Only found out about this lobang from classmate in nursing. Sigh.

    Good luck!

  9. Lost Ichigo says:

    Thanks Johnny, feels like reset to fresh grad days …

  10. jj says:

    Hi Disappointed PMET, maybe you want to consider this as a blessing in disguise that you didn’t get the internship attachment.

    Logistics or supply chain covered a lot of things. They have shipping logistics, engineering logistics, retail logistics, F&B logistics, trading logistics, mfg logistics, freight forwarding, warehousing …etc. Depends on your luck but usually you will end up with a stressful & busy job coz the nature of the logistics industries is stressful & busy & with not so high wage unless you are in the senior mgmt level. For what i knew, quite many youngsters stay away from logistics industry.

    Don’t be fooled by those beautiful description on these logistics or supply chain courses & jobs. Most of the stuff you learn in these logistics courses also cannot be applied in logistics jobs. I have SIMM logistics diploma but that also not really helping me alot in getting a logistics PME job too. Guess what am i working as now – i am now working as a security guard supervisor.

  11. jj@39 says:

    There are quite an numbers of logistics/supply chain courses offered by serveral course centres in S’pore.

    The kaplan programme consultant will tell you all the beautiful stuff of taking up these courses & get a university professor to do course introduction, but they will not tell you the ugly side of the logistics industry. This is marketing. They are more interested in the money.

    The curriculum of these logistics/supply chain courses aren’t always able to meet industry needs. Large portion of the curriculum couldn’t be use in daily logistics work.

    Many companies don’t establish logistics manager position. To cut cost, they will let the accountant, finance manager, sales manager & engineer to be in-charge of logistics matters. All the logistics personel in the company will report to them.

    These accountant, finance manager, sales manager & engineer usually posses little logistics experience & knowledge, so they will need to rely on experience logistics personal to get things done. Arguement is sometimes unavoidable as one posses the authority & the other one posses the experience.

    If it covers little or nothing on shipping & freightforwarding. You don’t have much knowledge to work in transportation industry. E.g. Do you know how to declare import/export permits n prepare L/C document? Can you coordinate & liaise for payment issue? Nowsdays, many also avoid transportation industry coz of the working condition.

    If it covers manufacturing, that might not be helpful too. Bcoz engineering company management will prefer pure engineering guy to take charge coz there are many technical stuff involved in the work. E.g. The engineer could tell the different between various machine components but a logistics/supply chain guy might have problems doing that.

    Just be careful when you are thinking of taking up these courses. Sometimes, you don’t really need to have a logistics/supply chain dip/deg in order to work in the industry. Many posses non-logistics dip/deg but working as logistics personel in 3PL & distribution companies. E.g. YCH, HG Metal.

  12. jj@39 says:

    I just received this email from SIMM days ago, trying to attract people to enrol for these over rated WSQ courses again. To me, all these are education & marketing traps trying to cheat others into believing it will helps one to secure a job or find another better paid job.

    “Dear SIMM Students, Do you want to gain a higher national qualification?

    The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) is a national credentialing system. It trains, develops, assesses and recognises individuals for the key competencies that companies look for in potential employees.

    WSQ is based on national standards developed by WDA in collaboration with various industries comprising industry sectoral frameworks which serve to:
    ‚ÄĘ Professionalise the industry, particularly where recognition of Continuing Education and Training (CET) qualifications are lacking
    ‚ÄĘ Improve labour mobility allowing companies in growing industries to easily recruit workers with the necessary skills whilst improving opportunities for workers to enter these industries.

    The WSQ system is designed to be a practical, accessible and affordable launching pad for individuals to take charge of their own careers and advancement. It is also a powerful business tool for employers to access and maintain a skilled workforce as it enhances their competitive edge and advancing their businesses.
    The WSQ COP is a certification awarded by WDA specially designed for supervisors or Workers with management and supervising roles. This course aims to equip workers with the essential supervisory training and Skills as Operations professional in the manufacturing industry or in performing technical supervisory jobs in other industry such as the services industry.

    MODULE 1: WSQ Supervise Quality Procedures (WSQS-SQP)
    - Plan daily quality control activities
    - Facilitate and control process quality
    - Maintain process quality
    Intake date: 06, 07 Oct 2012 &
    Assessment Date: 28 Oct 2012 = 1 Hour
    DURATION Training: 09:00am ‚Äď 5:00pm (16 Hours)
    Course fee: $69.55 (after 90% funding incl Gst)
    Full Course Fee: $695.50 (incl Gst)

    MODULE 2: WSQ Supervise Work Improvement Processes (WSQS-SWIP)
    - Plan work improvement activities
    - Implement work improvement processes
    - Standardize improved work processes
    Intake date: 03, 04 Nov 2012 &
    Assessment Date: 25 Nov 2012 = 2 Hours
    DURATION Training: 09:00am ‚Äď 5:00pm (16 Hours)
    Course fee: $69.55 (after 90% funding incl Gst)
    Full Course Fee: $695.50 (incl Gst)

    MODULE 3: WSQ Supervise Teams at Work (WSQS-STW)
    - Form work teams
    - Lead workplace team activities
    - Maintain team performance
    Intake date: 01, 02, 08 Dec 2012
    Assessment Date: 29 Dec 2012 = 1 Hour
    DURATION Training: 09:00am ‚Äď 6:00pm (24 Hours)
    Course fee: $90.95 (after 90% funding incl Gst)
    Full Course Fee: $909.50 (incl Gst)

    MODULE 4: WSQ Supervise Workplace Safety & Health Practices
    - Plan workplace safety and health activities
    - Implement safe work practices
    - Maintain workplace risk control measures
    Intake date: 05, 06, 12 Jan 2013
    Assessment Date: 02 Feb 2013 = 3 Hours
    DURATION Training: 09:00am ‚Äď 5:00pm (24 Hours)
    Course fee: $90.95 (after 90% funding incl Gst)
    Full Course Fee: $909.50 (incl Gst)

    Assessment Instrument/Tools
    It consists of work assignment and written/oral questioning. Summative assessment is applied.
    Competency Elements Assessment Instrument/Tools
    1. Plan daily quality control activities WA, WQ/OQ
    2. Facilitate & control process quality WA, WQ/OQ
    3. Maintain process quality WA, WQ/OQ
    Note: WA: Work Assignment; WQ: Written Questioning; OQ: Oral Questioning

    Assessment Duration:
    Assessment Instrument/Tools Duration
    Work Assignment
    ¬ To be done outside the training schedule (Submit on due date)
    Presentation of Work Assignment 20 minutes
    Written/Oral Questioning 40 minutes
    Assessment Hours per Candidate 1 hour

    - Completed O-level and are able to speak, read and write in Basic English
    - Possess the following competency ratings from the Employability Skills System
    – Listening/Speaking Min. Level 5
    – Reading/Writing Min. Level 5
    – Numeracy Min. Level 5
    – An applicant must be at least 18 years of age on admission to the programme.
    Date of Course Commencement: 06 Oct 2012 to 02 Jan 2012, every Saturday or Sunday from 09:00 am to 06:00 pm.

    Training Venue: SIMM, 229 Mountbatten Road, #03-28 Mountbatten Square, Singapore 398007
    Classroom-based experiential learning with role plays, exercises and case studies.

    Duration: 1 Hrs to 3 Hrs (per module)
    Method: Practical Performance Work Assignment, Presentation on Work

    Assignment: Oral and Written Exams Applicant must Attain 100% class attendance and passed all required assessments to qualify for government grant (T&C applies).

    COURSE FEE $321.00 (Price includes 7% GST and WDA funding for Singaporeans / PRs)
    Individual modules are available.
    Registration: On first-come-first-served basis.
    Reservations made by telephone or telefax will only be confirmed upon receipt of registration form and cheque.

    Date Line: 01-October 2012

    Contact: Ms Lina
    Tel: 6484-5737

    Singapore Institute of Materials Management reserves the right to defer or cancel any course due to unforeseen circumstances.

    Please do feel free to contact us should you require further information. Looking forward to hear from you soon. Have a nice day ahead! Thank you.

    Best regards,
    Lina Zhen (Ms) Programme Consultant Singapore Institute of Materials Management 229 Mountbatten Road
    #03-28 Mountbatten Square, Singapore 398007 Tel: (65) 6484 5737, Fax: (65) 6484 5537 Email: Website:

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