SAF Revamping PES System & Will Be Giving New Vocations for NSFs

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For those who’ve gone through National Service (NS), the following might be a familiar scenario.

You and your friends just got done with your medical checkup.

Sometime later, you guys get back your results, along with your buddy asking you, “What’s PES status?”

The Physical Employment Standards (PES), for those unaware, is basically a grade to check your suitability for certain vocations.

So if your status is A, you’ll be good to go for most combat vocations.

In comparison, a PES E1 or E9 status would only make you suitable for admin or support vocations.

SAF Revamping PES System & Will Be Creating New Vocations for NSmen

However, the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) wants to eventually revamp this system.

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How said on 1 March that they’ll redesign vocations and jobs to suit more soldiers’ capabilities.

These were also suggestions from the NS review committee established last year to match servicemen’s skills better to their vocations.

He says with advancing technology, some medical conditions that made deployment hard may not be so relevant.

Think of it this way: not everyone may be suited for a frontline role.

Some people might be very good with tech, which could help with things such as cybersecurity.

But with the PES system being around for so long, what sort of new systems would be used instead?

Assessment-Based Testing

Well, according to the Ministry of Defence’s (Mindef), they’re trying out assessments that’ll determine if a soldier is fit for said vocation.

So let’s say for a transport operator, they’d create a task that would be similar to ones experienced in the actual job role.

This would help supplement the system introduced a few years back, where pre-enlistees could indicate vocational interests.


If this method is successful, Mr Heng says that it’ll likely see its usage in other vocations.

So if you try to keng to get out of responsibilities, bad news for you.

You’ll still get to do work somewhere else anyway.

Different vocation doesn’t mean time for a vacation.

New Vocations

New vocations and redesigns of current ones will also take place for NSFs.

Minister for Defence Ng Eng Hen said these redesigns would open up even more areas of service.

Are you angry at someone now, and can’t get him or her out of your mind? Well, watch this video and you’ll know what to do next:

An example given was regarding unmanned surface vessels and watchtowers.

These could be manned by servicemen who were eligible for deployment to related roles that did not have opportunities before.

Even for operationally ready NSmen, Mr Heng wants MINDEF to make use of their civilian skills to better support the SAF.


He states that they will increase the places for deployment as well as establish a dedicated deployment centre.

To parody the words of Oprah Winfrey: you get a vocation, you get a vocation, everyone gets a vocation.

The new vocations weren’t the only things SAF added. You can read here about how during the festive season, BMTC even added a meal to suit the CNY mood.

Feature Image: 2p2play /

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