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Workforce Skills Qualifications certification for NSmen in SCDF

This means greater recognition for skills attained during their National Service, which they can then leverage when they enter the workforce.

SINGAPORE: NSmen deployed to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) can get their skills certified under the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) framework. This means greater recognition for skills attained during their National Service, which they can then leverage when they enter the workforce.

The initiative comes on the back of a proposal by the Committee to Strengthen National Service, to enhance the value proposition of compulsory conscription by accrediting skills that full-time NSmen gain during their NS stint.

As SCDF officers, these men are trained in a diverse range of skills, from incident management to tackling medical emergencies.

Recognising these invaluable skills, the SCDF collaborated with the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) in 2012, to have their training programmes aligned with the national WSQ framework. The WSQ is an accreditation scheme based on national standards developed by the WDA, in collaboration with industry. It is designed for workers to take charge of their careers by upgrading themselves with skills recognised by employers.

"Our intention was to create value for our full-time NSmen and, in time to come, our Operationally Ready NSmen to go beyond their contribution to the nation to that of their employment in the workforce. It's basically also to provide our NSF, upon their ORD, with a head start,” said Colonel Yap Kok Boon, Director of SCDF’s Training Department.

“So if they choose to pursue in that industry, what they can do is to either complete the rest of the module to get a full cert, or if they have attained a full cert, to pursue the next higher level."

The SCDF is looking at eventually implementing three WSQ-certified courses: One for senior officers that will cover incident and leadership management, an emergency medical technician course, and a fire-fighting course.

He added: "In most industries they need people who are trained in fire safety, in basic firefighting. So if our guys are interested in joining such an industry upon their ORD, they can do so. If you look at Jurong Island, for example, most of the companies there I would say would need skills that are being taught by SCDF."

The first batch of some 100 officers will receive "Statement of Attainment" certificates for the completion of modules under the senior officers’ course, at the end of June. Each course has about six to eight modules.

NS personnel can continue to attain higher WSQ certification as they progress in their civilian careers, as well as during their annual In-Camp Training (ICT), or through higher-level courses conducted by the SCDF.

As part of the collaboration, the Civil Defence Academy has also been accredited as a WSQ in-house Approved Training Organisation, which means it can issue its own WSQ-approved certificates for its training courses.

The SCDF is believed to be the first Home Team agency to offer WSQ-certified courses. When fully rolled out, some 2,000 full-time NSmen and 10,000 Operationally Ready National Servicemen stand to benefit from the programme.

Details on a similar proposal by the Committee to Strengthen National Service have yet to be released. However, it is understood that other Home Team agencies are looking to learn from the SCDF experience.

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