SINGAPORE: Since its launch in 2015, more than 285,000 working adult Singaporeans have benefited from SkillsFuture, which can be used in applying for classes and workshops accredited by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG).
Of those who have benefited, about 160,000 Singaporeans have used their SkillsFuture Credit in 2017 and infocomm technology courses are among the most popular.
The figures were announced at an SSG media briefing on Thursday (Feb 1).
"We saw a good take-up across the different programmes, not just in SkillsFuture Credit but also in other new programmes that are being launched as well. So we see people using SkillsFuture Credit for example for SkillsFuture for digital workplace.
"We see people using the SkillsFuture Credit for SkillsFuture Series. (It is a) good, positive sign that Singaporeans are heeding the call that they're taking ownership, and they're charting their own learning and their own career path," said Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of SSG.
SSG said more than 2,400 award recipients have received the SkillsFuture Study Award which is given out early to mid-career Singaporeans who are interested in deepening specialist skills needed by future economic growth sectors or in areas of demand.
In addition, more than 4,600 Singaporeans have participated in the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace which helps to equip Singaporeans with the basic functional skills to prepare for the future economy, according to SSG.
SUPPORT FOR THE TRAINING AND ADULT EDUCATION INDUSTRY
On Thursday, the SSG also launched the Education (Training and Adult Education) Industry Transformation Map which will provide guidance to professionalise and strengthen the capabilities of the Training and Adult Education (TAE) industry.
Developed in collaboration with tripartite partners, it will focus on three areas - innovation, productivity and jobs and skills.
TAE providers will be supported in driving innovation such as providing training that is tightly integrated with business solutions to support business performance and meet the skills needs of the industries they serve. For instance, new programmes on pedagogical and modular curriculum design will be rolled out to make learning more relevant, SSG said.
In terms of professionalising jobs and deepening skills, SSG said it will continue to support TAE providers in enhancing the recognition, career and skills pathways for adult educators.
There are currently more than 800 professionals in the TAE industry under the Adult Educators Professionalisation initiative, and this number is expected to grow.
In a bid to increase productivity, SSG has introduced the Training Exchange in the MySkillsFuture Portal - a comprehensive listing of the courses to help individuals make informed training choices. Individuals can also provide views and feedback using a community feedback feature.
To support training providers, SSG said it will also enhance their operational efficiency by providing training management solutions and a centralised collection of trainees’ feedback under the Training Quality and Outcome Measurement initiative. The initiative currently spans five areas of training and covers about 700 courses.
As individuals and companies take part in the SkillsFuture initiative, the SSG said it will continue to make sure scam cases such as the S$40 million fraudulent claims reported in December do not happen again.
"We've put some safeguards in place. Obviously we take the incidents very seriously. We are taking actions to make sure they do not recur. But inter-agency task force is still in the midst of developing, finalising its recommendations and we should give it time to do so. So there are measures that are being implemented but we expect that the task force to come up with a much more comprehensive list of recommendations and we will implement those recommendations systematically," Mr Ng said.
"But what we are also mindful of is that we want to ensure that we do not allow a few black sheep to detract us from the broader objective which is upskilling and reskilling workers and this is critical in order to support industry transformation," he added.
The task force was announced in January in response to a series of offences paid out to what is believed to be a criminal syndicate by the SSG.
Beyond that, Mr Ng also said that the SSG will continue to study the outcomes of the SkillsFuture initiative. This, however, can be tricky because of the difficulty in establishing indicators to measure progress.
At the moment, Mr Ng said that they are looking at indicators such as pay increase and training and training participation rate, but a set of numbers are needed to put the progress of SkillsFuture into context.
"We are embarking on studies on skills utilisation because that's quite an important part. Is there one indicator that can measure how far we've come with regards to SkillsFuture? And my answer is I think we struggle to find indicators that can summarize it. We think what we have and what we need to track closely is at the programme-level, making sure each programme there are clear milestones on what they are supposed to hit and making sure that we are all on course for that," he said.
"At the broader level, because SkillsFuture is about effecting cultural shift, it is harder to boil down to a single number," Mr Ng added.