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Budget 2022: S$100 million to be set aside for NTUC’s efforts to scale up company training committees

Budget 2022: S$100 million to be set aside for NTUC’s efforts to scale up company training committees

Office workers cross a road in the financial district of Raffles Place on Sep 6, 2021. (Photo: CNA/Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: About S$100 million will be set aside for the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to scale up company training committees (CTCs), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced on Friday (Feb 18).

CTCs, an approach that NTUC championed, bring together unions and employers to develop concrete firm-level transformation plans, Mr Wong said.

These include the relevant training needed for their workers, so that they can enjoy better wages, welfare and prospects, he said.

The plans are implemented with the support of “relevant” Government agencies, he said.

Part of the money will go into a new grant for companies that have set up CTCs to implement their transformation plans, Mr Wong said in his Budget speech. The grant will be administered by NTUC.

NTUC has formed more than 800 such committees with companies of various sizes to date, Mr Wong said.

Mr Wong spoke about NTUC’s efforts as he stressed the importance of ensuring a good match between the skills demanded by the industry and those offered by the workforce to maximise investments in people.

“This means bringing together the various parties involved - training providers, employment facilitation providers, employers and jobseekers themselves - to anticipate the areas where new skills are needed,” he said, adding they need to ensure that effective training is provided in a “timely manner”.

SUPPORTING MID-CAREER WORKERS

Mr Wong added that the Government will pay “special attention” to mid-career workers, especially those in their 40s and 50s.

“They are more vulnerable to churn and disruption in the workplace, but they have valuable experience to contribute, and with some help, many are able to learn adapt and do well in new jobs,” he said.

To support mature mid-career workers, company attachments as part of the SGUnited mid-career pathways programme will be made a permanent feature of the training and placement ecosystem, Mr Wong said.

He also spoke about supporting smaller and micro enterprises in their training efforts.

The Government supports employers to identify skills that are in demand and provide industry-relevant training through SkillFuture enterprise credit, but this is only for employers who have had at least three local employees and contributed at least S$750 of skills development levy over a qualifying period.

These companies have tended to be larger enterprises, Mr Wong said.

To better support smaller and micro enterprises, the Government will grant a waiver of the skills development levy requirement for the qualifying period of Jan 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2021, Mr Wong said.

This is estimated to double the number of eligible employers to 80,000, Mr Wong said.

The deadline to claim the credit will also be extended by a year to Jun 30, 2024 to give employers more time to use the credits, he said.

Besides enterprises, changes will also be made to institutes of higher learning, including autonomous universities, to “empower and equip Singaporeans for their lifelong journey of acquiring new skills and sharpening existing ones”, Mr Wong said. These will be transformed into institutes of continual learning.

“We will review the programming in our IHLs (institutes of higher learning) and enhance their provision of quality continuing education and training” Mr Wong said, adding that the Minister for Education will elaborate further at the Committee of Supply.

Source: CNA/ja
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