Netizen Relates How His Company Could’ve Abused SG Traineeship to Hire ‘Full-Timer’

Imagine you’re a boss whose business is not affected by COVID-19. You’ve a 54-year-old manager who’s performing, and he’s drawing $4,500 a month.

Then you got to know about a scheme whereby you get to engage a “trainee”, a fresh grad, for just $1,800. The best part of this? 80% of his “salary” will be paid for by the Government—with no CPF contribution from the employer.

That means you just need to pay $360 a month for a fresh grad to replace the manager, and save over $4,000 a month.

So you fire your 54-year-old manager on the pretense that he’s not performing and engage the trainee to do the exact same job.

Sounds unlikely?

Well, then you probably haven’t experienced life before.

Netizen Relates How His Company Could’ve Abused SG Traineeship to Hire Full-Timer

The SGUnited Traineeship Programme is an initiative by the authorities to help people who’ve just graduated to secure traineeship opportunities since finding a job is going to be tough during this period.

For that, the authorities would use a platform, the mycareersfuture website, to match-make employers with fresh graduates.

The allowance has to be between $1,100 to $2,500 a month; for university graduates, it would have to be at least $1,800 a month.

The goody thing is that the authorities would pay 80% of the allowance, as the goal is to let the trainees gain work experience so that when the world is back to normal, they’d have work experience to pad up their resume.

Yes, it’s like an internship, except that Ah Gong is paying for the internship allowance.

Given that that are some companies that have more interns than full-timers, you can bet that it’s an attractive offer for employers.

A check on the website now shows a whopping 32,663 openings.

Oh, wait; it was 32,663 during the time of writing. During the editing period, it’s grown to 32,690.

All’s good, except that the world’s not a bed of roses, and there are bound to be companies looking to abuse the system.

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A redditor has related one of these stories that we can’t help but to think that it’s happening in other companies, too.

The person, whom we should name Whisperer, worked as an HR intern.

According to him, the HR team was initially looking for an Operations Manager with a budget of $3.5K a month.

But once the SGUnited Traineeship Programme was announced, the boss instructed them to look for a trainee under the programme for the same position instead. And they managed to get an NUS honours graduate for the role.

The market rate for a local university graduate, before COVID-19 wreaked havoc on society, is about $3,600 in 2019.

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So, initially, the boss has to pay $3,500 + $560 (CPF) = $4,060 for a full-time position, but now managed to get one for merely $500 (20% of $2,500) – for the same role.

Whisperer’s HR manager claimed that the traineeship is supposed to “add value” to the applicant, which Whisperer said he was able to “BS out quite easily.”


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This might not be as extreme as the example mentioned in the introduction, but like what Whisperer said, “Currently there is nothing stopping companies from retrenching existing PMETs that earn 4 to 5k and rehiring uni grads for the same position at 2.5k…I can’t speak for all companies, but I think in the current form the program may be subject to misuse by unscrupulous companies.”

Image: Tenor

Even before this, you’d have heard of stories on how companies only engage interns and make them do full-time work all in the name of “experience” when we all know it’s “cheap labour”.

This might have amplified it, because…

9 Months of Traineeship

The SGUnited Traineeship Programme aims to provide 21,000 traineeship opportunities, and it doesn’t come as a surprise that the subscription to the programme by companies exceeds the expectations.

I just did a filter on the platform to list down the highest salaries first, and guess how many were above $2,500?


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Six openings.

And they’re by four organisations, of which two are universities (NUS and NTU).

Reader Bao: But you mentioned the allowance is supposed to be up to $2,500. That’s why all are just up to $2,500 mah

Yes, that’s an estimation, and the amount Ah Gong would help to fund. I’m 101% trainees won’t mind a bit more money.

The traineeship is supposed to last for nine months or so, and the trainee can leave any time they want.


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There Is, however, a channel for you to report any poor HR practices: if you’ve applied to be a traineeship programme to learn coding and realised you’ve just become a slave to the boss instead, you can call 6827 6828, email [email protected] or use this online form to report the company.

And speaking of bad companies, Goody Feed is one of them so we’ve done a video explaining what bosses can’t do to you. Here, watch this (and please subscribe to our YouTube channel for more informative videos):


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