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Speech by MOS Sam Tan at the Launch of Skills Framework for Social Service

Type: Official Speeches: Sam Tan, Official Speeches (All)

Topic(s): Social Service Agencies & Partners, Social Service Professionals

Mr Sim Gim Guan, Chief Executive Officer for National Council of Social Service

Dr Lee Tung Jean, Deputy Secretary of Ministry of Social and Family Developmen

Mr Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SkillsFuture Singapore

Mr Tan Choon Sian, Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore

Ms Anna Korpi, Councillor from the Finnish Embassy in Singapore


Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


1   A very good morning to all of you. It is important to mention those names just now because they are the people who are behind this very meaningful project. And they are the ones coming together with industry partners to put together a wide range of courses. I think that it is important to acknowledge their contributions and their work. They work quietly behind the scenes, but more importantly when I mention their names, they will continue with their commitment to prepare the programmes moving forward because they have been recognised.

2   While it is indeed a privilege and an honour for me to be here this morning to join all of you in attending this very meaningful and important Social Service Institute Graduation and Award Ceremony, I want to make a small correction. I am not the guest of honour for this event. The real guest of honour are all you graduands, that have spent time and energy, working very hard - so the honour is all yours.

3   Just now, when I saw the graduands marching into this hall, in the music of Sir Edward Elgar's Graduation March, it was a really moving and warm moment for me. I am sure it must also be a very proud moment for the graduands, as well as your family members. I know it because I first attended a graduation ceremony as a graduand 37 years ago. I can still remember the excitement. I am sure this is really a very proud moment for you and your family.

4   I am also very happy to see so many passionate and like-minded individuals like you, from the sector, gathered here this morning, and I would like to express my heartiest congratulations to all the graduands. You have worked hard to enhance your knowledge, skills and competencies as social service professionals, and today really marks a new phase in your journey to become more effective change-makers in the community, to the people you serve - the very core mission why you have committed yourself to the social service.

5   So ladies and gentlemen, it is an exciting and challenging time to be in the social service sector today . As individuals and families face increasingly complex social, economic and health issues, brought on by an ageing population and other demographic changes, the demand for social services will certainly increase. And in turn, the expectations placed on our social service professionals will also increase. Professionals in the sector will be expected to remain nimble and relevant, equipped with the knowledge, skills and abilities to handle complex and emerging challenges. Indeed, this is really a great challenge. But if it were not a challenge, then you would not have committed yourselves to the social service sector. The difficulties and challenges ahead serve as the motivation for all of you, and therefore you made the commitment to join the often under recognised, underappreciated social service sector. Social service professionals will also need to collaborate and coordinate better across sectors, organisations and professions. They will need to leverage on technology and also undertake research and data-evidenced practices to improve service design and delivery.

Overview of Skills Framework for Social Service

6   To help individuals and also employers in our social service sector to identify the key skills and competencies necessary to stay future-ready and well-equipped to help those in need, I am very pleased to announce the launch of the Skills Framework for Social Service today.

7   The Skills Framework provides information on the sector and career pathways. It also identifies existing and emerging skills and competencies required for 60 job roles across five tracks in the social service sector, and the relevant training programmes for skills development and mastery. Jointly developed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), National Council of Social Service (NCSS), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), together with many other partners in the industry, the Framework incorporates inputs from over 80 Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and about 200 representatives from the industry, academia and professional associations. So it is indeed a framework put together not just by a few people and a few agencies, but collective inputs and efforts by many stakeholders in the social service sector.

8   Many of these organisations and individuals are here with us today. So I want to take a moment to pause and invite all of you to put your hands together to thank these group of people for their contributions towards this Framework which will benefit over 15,000 professionals in our sector today.

9   You have done remarkable work. Through the framework you will provide a lot of opportunities for people who are thinking of making a career change in the future or for people who retire from one job or profession and who want to enter into the social service sector. This includes people who are retiring one day and want to do something for others by taking up a course and serving in the social service sector.

The Skills Framework for Social Service benefits individuals, organisations and training providers

10   Let me touch on how the Skills Framework for Social Service can be useful to individuals and organisations in our sector.


11   For individuals, the Framework spells out the skills and competencies required for different professions across the industry. This will help existing professionals enhance and grow their abilities and skillsets within the sector. Individuals looking to enter the sector are also guided on the skills and competencies needed to make that important career move.

12   A social service professional who has been looking forward to the launch of the Skills Framework is Mr Mohammad Farhan Bin Kamsani. He is a Programme Coordinator at Boys' Town Residential Services who has worked in the sector for about three and a half years.

13   As a supervisor to a team of duty officers, Farhan appreciates how the Framework can help him to plan and guide his team on their daily operations and career development. The Framework also provides Farhan with valuable insights into key skills and competencies that he will need for his development, as he works towards his own goal of setting up and managing an enrichment centre in the future. So you see, the skills that individuals learn through the framework will not only enhance and raise their professional competencies in the job that they are in, it also opens up new opportunities, new frontiers and new horizons for people who want to set out on their own or pursue their own dreams.


14   For organisations, the Framework will help them in their talent attraction, talent development and succession planning processes. Using the skills map and career pathways illustrated in the Framework, they can identify the skills and competencies required for each job role and invest in the necessary training to grow the skills in their workforce.

Training Providers

15   Training providers such as the Social Service Institute (SSI) can refer to the Framework to design and enhance comprehensive and relevant training programmes for the sector. This will ensure that professionals in our sector will have access to up-to-date courses and training that enable them to remain relevant and effective in their respective professions.


16   In conclusion, the Skills Framework for Social Service is a vital resource to help the sector identify the key skills and competencies, as well as new and emerging ones. To be truly useful and meaningful, we will need the support of all professionals and organisations in the sector to adopt and reference it in their human resource and capability development efforts and initiatives. We will continue to enhance and refresh the Skills Framework in the years ahead, as our social service landscape evolves.

17   Ladies and gentlemen, the years ahead will be exciting and I would like to assure all of you that when you plan ahead, through initiatives such as the Skills Framework for social service, our future will be within our grasp. And on this note, I would like to once again extend my heartiest congratulations again to all our graduands and their family. I look forward to your continued contributions to the social service sector. And as I am from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, I look forward to your continued partnership and steadfast collaboration with the Ministry in making Singapore a better, warmer and caring society. Thank you.