SINGAPORE: From next month, Singaporeans aged 25 and above, will be able to make use of their S$500 SkillsFuture Credit as part of efforts to encourage Singaporeans to take personal ownership of lifelong learning.
Those eligible for the SkillsFuture Credit will receive their account activation letter, along with a booklet which comes in four languages. It will help them access their account at the SkillsFuture portal.
Channel NewsAsia understand that they will need to login with their SingPass, confirm the credit in their account, register for the course they want and use the credit to pay for or offset skills related course fees by applying for claims. Users will then receive SMS notifications on whether their claims have been successful, before attending the course.
COURSES TO BOOST EMPLOYABILITY
Mr Alvin Ho, 26, is already planning to use his credits to upgrade his skills.
“I just started working not long ago, and I want to learn more and develop my skills,” said the project engineer. “Probably a Project Management certificate, because PMP is quite a good cert. It's more like handling a cost, your timeline especially and development of an IT project. The SkillsFuture credit will actually take the burden off.”
So, for example, if the full course fee is S$1,000 and Alvin qualifies for 70 per cent of existing Government funding, he'll need to pay the remaining S$300. As he has a S$500 credit, the remaining amount can be used for other courses.
Individuals can pick from more than 10,000 courses by more than 500 training providers. The courses span across 57 areas such as basic computing, advertising and healthcare. Some courses can be taken online, while others - such as basic breadmaking and hairdressing - can be taken at community clubs.
The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) said they are to cater to different interests of Singaporeans while helping them boost their employability.
“What’s more important for them is to think very clearly for themselves, how they see their careers are headed, what sort of skills they might require, and then look for the courses that helps them acquire those skills,” said Mr Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of WDA. “And because the SkillsFuture credit has no expiry date, the Government has also committed publicly that there are periodic top-ups in the SkillsFuture credit, so Singaporeans do not need to rush to use this, they can plan, take their time and mull over their options.”
More options can be expected next year. WDA said it will continue to work with Government agencies and training providers to expand the suite of courses approved for the SkillsFuture Credit.
EXPANDING THE COURSES AVAILABLE
NTUC LearningHub which currently offers 200 courses, is looking to offer 50 more, in areas such as financial literacy, leadership, IT and entrepreneurship. Advisers are also trained to assist those wanting to use their credits.
“We will ask them what their needs are and we will talk to them, what funding they are entitled to and we will give recommendations on the type of courses they should take,” Said Mr Kwek Kok Kwong, CEO of NTUC Learning Hub. “So these are the few steps that we will go through with them. As you know different people have different training needs, so we will have to look at them at a case by case basis.”
The credit can also be used for courses offered by MOE-funded institutions such as ITE, universities, SIM University, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is also hoping to reach out to those looking to upgrade their skills.
It is offering specialist modular certificates in areas like Manufacturing Engineering, Electrical Power Systems and Power and Clean Energy.
“What we have decided, really, is that for this type of student, there is no need to put them on the kind of stringent rigour in admission because these people are working and many of them perhaps want to take one or two courses to update themselves, so it is quite manageable,” said Professor Kam Chan Hin, a senior associate provost at NTU. “So what we are going to do, is that, we are going have quite a liberal admissions policy to let these people take it; if they do well, good, if they don’t do well, it does not matter, because they still learn something, so that’s the concept, it is going to be quite open.”
WDA said there will be more outreach activities, such as roadshows to help Singaporeans understand how to use their SkillsFuture Credit. It is understood that those who need assistance can also approach public touchpoints, such as WDA career centres and selected community clubs.