540,000 people, 14,000 businesses benefited from SkillsFuture initiatives last year

540,000 people, 14,000 businesses benefited from SkillsFuture initiatives last year

SINGAPORE: About 540,000 individuals and 14,000 enterprises benefited from SkillsFuture Singapore-supported initiatives in 2020, the agency said on Tuesday (Feb 9).

This in an increase from the 500,000 individuals and 14,000 companies who benefited in 2019. More than 188,000 Singaporeans also utilised their SkillsFuture credit last year, up from about 156,000 in 2019.

A survey from the Training Quality and Outcomes Measurement system showed that SkillsFuture-funded training continued to “receive positive response” last year.

About 87 per cent of the 57,000 respondents said they were able to perform their work better after undergoing such training, a slight improvement from 86 per cent in 2019.

“Despite restrictions to in-person learning and the shift towards online training, the training participation rate for the resident labour force aged 15 to 64 remained similar to 2019 at 49 per cent,” SkillsFuture Singapore said.

This was reflected in the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) labour force report for 2020.

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According to the report, 61 per cent of employed trainees felt that “training had become more important in view of the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market”, while 80 per cent indicated that “their skillsets enabled them to thrive or cope with the changes that will emerge” after the pandemic.

“I am encouraged by the fact that we continued to make steady progress in our reach in 2020, with 540,000 individuals and 14,000 companies tapping on SSG’s support,” said SkillsFuture Singapore’s chief executive Ong Tze-Ch’in.

“As we look ahead to 2021, SSG will continue to support individuals, focusing on unemployed jobseekers, and employers, especially those in affected sectors.”

MORE UTILISING TRAINING AS COVID-19 DISRUPTS INDUSTRIES

To support individuals and enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic last year, SkillsFuture Singapore implemented new measures and adjusted existing initiatives.

Among the new measures launched were the SGUnited Skills Programme and the company training track under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programmes. These were part of the national SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package rolled out in July.

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These programmes aim to provide training opportunities for individuals to upskill themselves and enhance employability to transition to new careers or roles that emerge in the job market, SkillsFuture said.

“As of Dec 31, 2020, about 9,800 individuals had enrolled into these programmes, comprising 7,200 under the SGUnited Skills Programme and 2,600 under the company training track of the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme,” the agency said.

It added that sectors in ICT and media, professional services, manufacturing and healthcare in particular reported high enrolment.

Enterprises in sectors severely affected by the pandemic also received aid through the Enhanced Training Support Package, which was started in March to provide enhanced absentee payroll support and course fee subsidies for eight sectors.

About 155,000 training places had been taken up as of December 2020, benefiting more than 72,000 employees across 1,300 enterprises, SkillsFuture said.

Strong take-ups were seen in sectors such as air transport and tourism, which were severely disrupted by the pandemic, with more than 59,000 and 44,000 training places filled respectively.

“Some of the skills that employees had taken up under ETSP include data analytics, digital commerce, customer service, as well as other soft skills in communication and adapting to change,” the agency said.

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MORE UTILISING SKILLSFUTURE CREDITS

More than 188,000 Singaporeans used their SkillsFuture credit last year, up from about 156,000 in 2019, the agency said.

Courses in areas such as data analytics, digital media, entrepreneurship and tech-enabled services remained strong in 2020, with more than 36,000 individuals taking courses under the SkillsFuture Series, it added.

About 37,000 also participated in the SkillsFuture for the Digital Workplace programme in 2020, an increase from 36,000 in 2019.

More than 5,700 individuals also benefited from the Skills and Training Advisory services introduced in July, which provided one-to-one customised support on learning and upskilling needs.

There were also 590 companies that took part in SkillsFuture Work-Study programmes last year, which provided more educational pathways for students from Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and autonomous universities.

Placements were provided for 1,700 individuals to gain work and industry experience while pursuing academic and work qualifications, SkillsFuture Singapore said.

MEASURES AGAINST FRAUD AND ABUSE

SkillsFuture Singapore took actions against 38 training providers and companies who abused funding or breached terms and conditions in 2020.

“Even as SSG rolled out new initiatives to respond to the pandemic, we ensured that necessary measures continued to be in place against fraud and abuse of SSG funding,” it said.

This includes strengthening its in-house systems, processes and capabilities to combat fraud and abuse of funding, leveraging risk mitigation strategies and technologies, such as anomaly detection and fraud analytics tools.

Source: CNA/ga

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