Dr Gerard Ee, Chairman, Agency for Integrated Care (AIC),
Mr Tan Kwang Cheak, Chief Executive Officer, AIC,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. A very good morning. I am delighted to be back, once again, at the annual Community Care Manpower Development Awards (CCMDA) ceremony. It did not feel too long ago when we just at this ceremony last year, but certainly, time has passed quite quickly, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every year, we come back together, to try to honour the achievements of many of our contributors and our staff in the community care sector.
2. Since CCMDA was launched in 2017, we’ve presented more than 550 CCMDA awards. This year, we are happy to present more than 160 awards, our largest number ever.
3. To our award recipients, congratulations, but more importantly, thank you, for your commitment to upskill yourselves despite such challenging times. To our community care organisations, thank you for investing in the careers of your employees.
Upsurge in Appreciation and Interest in Community Care Sector
4. COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, our work, and our studies. But it has also shone a spotlight on the sacrifices and contributions of our healthcare workers, especially those in the community care sector. Amidst the uncertainty of 2020, we read heartwarming stories of healthcare workers who placed duty above themselves. You saw in the video at the beginning of this ceremony, that the ability to care is present in every one of us. For us in the community care sector, compassion is the engine that drives many of the things we do in healthcare, and our healthcare workers have demonstrated this ability and this compassion very perfectly. In the past one and a half years, there has been a groundswell of appreciation for healthcare workers, and a surge of interest in the work they do. Within the community care sector, more CCMDA awards have been given to fresh entrants to the sector. This shows that there is growing recognition and interest in this sector, particularly among younger Singaporeans.
5. One of them is Ms Tan Hui Yi, who has taken up a CCMDA award to pursue a Social Work degree at NUS after completing her ‘A’ levels. She became interested in the community care sector when a family member shared that her end-of-life wish was to pass on at home. As she learnt more about the critical role played by the sector in caring for elderly Singaporeans, it spurred her passion to help seniors find comfort in ageing with dignity and passing on in a familiar environment. As a fresh graduate, Hui Yi will join Lee Ah Mooi Nursing Home as a Medical Social Worker. I salute her desire to help seniors age with grace. Thank you for stepping up to be the next generation that will carry the baton forward.
6. To make CCMDA more accessible to fresh entrants like Hui Yi, we launched a new CCMDA website and online application portal on Brightsparks in January. This one-stop portal allows students to learn more about the community care sector and submit their applications. We hope that many more will come to know the community care sector, and know that better and to also to choose to pursue a fulfilling career in this sector with its wide array of job opportunities.
Building a Future-Ready Community Care Workforce
7. Even as Singapore learns to live with COVID-19, we will continue to face new, unknown challenges. We must therefore remain vigilant, constantly innovate and refine our processes, so that we can provide better care to the patients that we serve. All of you are here today because you have taken up further studies to enhance your skill sets to meet changing care needs of our patients. The constant desire to learn and upskill will be critical for us to be a future-ready workforce.
8. We also need strong leadership to tackle the challenges ahead. As nurses play a key role in the community care sector, we need strong nursing leadership and strong nursing leaders to guide us forward and push new boundaries in care delivery. Last year, we launched the Community Care Nursing Leadership Programme (CCNLP) to attract and develop nursing leaders in community care organisations. Our first batch of 16 nurses will benefit from this clinical training, leadership development, attachments, and executive coaching to nurture them as future nursing leaders.
9. One of them is Ms Quek Yanting, a Nurse Manager from Dover Park Hospice. Yanting is also a proud recipient of the CCMDA today, where she has been sponsored to pursue a specialist diploma in palliative care nursing. She will be sharing more about her career aspirations via a live chat session later. I certainly hope her story will resonate with you, and motivate you to pursue continual growth and learning. For those of you who are leaders and managers, I hope her sharing inspire you to seek out opportunities to support your team’s growth.
Successful Job Redesign (JR) Pilot to Progress onto Next Phase with Early Adopters
10. Future-proofing the community care workforce goes beyond the individual. Organisations too, must stay nimble and be willing to embrace change. Last year, I announced that we would embark on a job redesign effort for staff in community care and in support care. The aim was to blend different support care roles, functions, and encourage cross-deployment, multi-skilling and enhance career progression.
11. I am happy to update that four community care organisations have come onboard to test out the redesigned role through a work trial. The redesigned role focuses on enhancing support care staff’s skills in basic nursing, therapy tasks, and psychosocial care. This creates a blended role which can open up opportunities for staff to further their skills and wage progression. With the learning from this pilot phase, we look forward to supporting early adopters in the next phase of our job redesign journey and encourage more community care organisations to come onboard in this particular effort.
12. In closing, let me say that, our community care workers play a critical role in looking after not just the physical health of our seniors, but importantly, their social and psychological well-being too. I want to encourage all community care employers to work with AIC and invest in your workforce by strengthening their capabilities, developing leaders, and creating opportunities for career progression. This will make the sector much more attractive to jobseekers. Through the years, the CCMDA has provided substantial opportunities and support to attract new entrants, as well as retain and upskill our community care workforce. For all the CCMDA award recipients today, we applaud your attitude towards lifelong learning, and we fully support your aspirations to innovate and enhance care delivery. AIC and MOH will support you with more career development and progression pathways, and help you keep pace with changing community care needs.
13. Once again, congratulations to all our CCMDA award recipients. I wish you the very best, as you embark on this meaningful journey to improve the lives of our seniors, helping them live and age well, at home and in the community.
Thank you very much.