Ready to Jump Back Into a Job?

Have you been economically inactive for quite some time and want to get back into the job market? Feeling rusty because of the years spent away from the workforce?

While you can do the usual thing of applying for jobs, but what might work better for you may be to try out a job first to see if it suits you or whether you can handle it.

Consider NTUC’s Returner Work Trial. It is targeted at getting economically inactive professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) to come back to the workforce by providing employment opportunities. Companies can also use it to tap on individuals with a wealth of experience.

The programme started on 1 September last year. As of February 2018, some 38 companies from various industries were approved to offer work trials to returners, with 67 vacancies available in the areas of administration, training, marketing, operations and accounting. To date, 18 returners have enrolled in work trials.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between the Returner Work Trial and the newly-enhanced Career Trial under the Government’s Adapt and Grow initiative, the latter is for individuals who have been unemployed for six months or more.

Here are more details about the programme.

What is the Returner Work Trial about?

It is a key feature of the NTUC’s Returners Programme and is designed to facilitate the re-entry of economically inactive PMETs into the workforce through short-term work opportunities in the participating companies. The Returner Work Trial lasts for a period of two years from 1 September 2017 to 31 August 2019. It is a new scheme offered by NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and supported by Workforce Singapore (WSG).

Who is eligible for the scheme?

The programme is for Singapore citizens aged 30 years and above holding a diploma, degree or above and in a PMET position. They have to be voluntarily out of the workforce for two years or more.

What is the aim of the programme?

It gives employers a chance to assess the returner’s fit for the job before offering a permanent position or employment contract of 12 months and above. During the programme, the individual can also plug gaps in his or her Curriculum Vitae (CV) and refresh the relevancy in skillsets. This provides opportunities for returners to ease back into employment, and employers to tap on this talent pool who may have amassed years of experience in their former careers.

What are the key features of the programme?

The duration under the Returner Work Trial is capped at a maximum of six months. Companies can customise their own structured on-the-job training curriculum according to a returner’s needs. The duration of the trial must be mutually agreed between the host company and the returner.

What are the benefits of the programme?

They will gain skills and job experience in a real work environment to help them transit back into the workforce. There is also an opportunity for the returner to be converted to permanent employee at the end of the trial should there be a good job-fit assessed by both host company and returner alike.

Is the returner paid a salary during the trial period?

Returners will receive a minimum training allowance of $2,500 per month during the trial period. This training allowance is co-contributed by WSG and e2i ($1,500 per month) and the employer (minimum of $1,000 per month) for the duration of the work trial. As an added incentive for employers, a one-off retention bonus of $3,000 will be given to any employer who employs and retains a returner in a permanent position for at least three continuous months after the completion of Work Trial or employment contract of 12 months and above. This retention bonus will be given to the employer at the ninth month mark.

How can interested individuals apply?

Employers and returners who are keen to participate in the Returner Work Trial or Returners Programme may contact NTUC’s e2i at or call their hotline at 6474 0606. They can also contact WSG’s Careers Connect at 6883 5858 or visit



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