SINGAPORE – More support is now available for young people keen to work abroad, and for companies to train them to prepare for overseas expansion plans.

The Global Ready Talent (GRT) programme, which was announced in this year’s Budget, was launched on Thursday (Oct 10) by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

A total of 60 local enterprises are offering 110 overseas internship positions and 86 overseas management associate positions under the programme. These companies are from industries like lifestyle and consumer, infocomm and media, as well as manufacturing and engineering.

The government aims to have 5,000 overseas placements under the programme over the next five years.

Mr Chan said at the launch event at the National Gallery that Singapore faces stiff competition from other countries that are not only developing their own local talent pool but also putting great effort into attracting talent from all over the world.

At the same time, many local companies – both big and small – have given feedback that the lack of talent is the biggest reason they have not been able to expand overseas, or expand as quickly as they want to.

“We are aware that with our limited domestic market, internationalisation is the key enabler of growth for Singapore enterprises to widen their customer base,” said Mr Chan.

As more local workers build up useful capabilities and widen their market knowledge, the hope is that they will be able to contribute more meaningfully to local enterprises, and in turn help their employers expand their regional and international footprint.

Addressing about 100 students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and local universities as well as about 130 company representatives, Mr Chan encouraged young people to build up their skills and international knowledge through gaining overseas exposure.

“Live there, understand the culture, understand the social system, understand the intricacies of how other societies work,” he said.

Under the GRT programme, Singapore enterprises can tap funding support to offer local and overseas internship placements to students from the ITE, polytechnics and local universities.

It also supports Singapore enterprises who want to post fresh graduates or young employees with up to three years of work experience to regional markets such as South-east Asia, China and India, under the management associate track. The overseas posting must be for at least one year.

Companies can receive up to 70 per cent funding for the allowances or salaries of participants.

Enterprise Singapore, which is running the scheme, said it will partner trade associations and chambers and institutes of higher learning to facilitate internship placements and evaluate companies who want to join.

Companies must have clear job scopes, objectives and mentorship plans for internships, and structured training and development plans with significant overseas exposure for management associate programmes.

Enterprise Singapore chief executive Png Cheong Boon said that for companies to succeed in their ventures abroad, they must ensure that their staff can understand and navigate the markets.

“GRT connects exciting regional opportunities from local enterprises with a pipeline of young talent keen to gain in-market experience,” he said.

For more information on the programme, companies can visit www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/grt while young people can visit www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/beglobalready.