SINGAPORE — Over 200 people have applied to join the Singapore Armed Forces Volunteer Corps (SAFVC) a week after recruitment began — a response Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen said was “encouraging”.

Giving this update in a Facebook post today (Oct 19), Dr Ng said 40 per cent of the applicants are permanent residents, and 60 per cent are citizens. A quarter of the applicants are women.

Among the reasons cited for wanting to volunteer were to “give back to Singapore”, “lead by example for my son”, and offer their “talent and service”, he said, adding: “Happy with the encouraging response so far.”

The SAFVC was among the recommendations of the Committee to Strengthen National Service, and is aimed at giving more a chance to contribute to Singapore’s defence. The SAF plans to recruit 100 to 150 such volunteers a year over three recruitment drives.

Applications opened last Monday (Oct 13). Depending on how many applications were received, an applicant may be informed via a letter to schedule an interview in about four weeks. After passing the interview and submitted the required documents, an applicant may wait up to four weeks before being called up for a medical screening.

“The SAF will screen through applicants carefully to find those with suitable aptitudes and skills to be pioneer batches of the SAFVC that can strengthen our national defence,” Dr Ng said.

Volunteers can choose to serve in wide-ranging fields, from operational deployments such as Auxiliary Security Trooper and Bridge Watchkeeper, to professional roles such as legal specialist staff and doctors — alongside regular soldiers in active units. They can switch roles during their stint and there is no minimum period of service. They are expected to be called up seven days a year.

Training is expected to begin in March next year, and volunteers could be deployed as early as the second half of 2015. Applications are still open.

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