SkillsFuture - How can Employees Benefit?

(Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Manpower website)

By Deanna Bonaparte

The recently-announced Budget 2015 elicited both good and bad responses from the public – it is, after all, simply impossible to please the entire population. But given that our work landscape is becoming increasingly complicated and competitive, the SkillsFuture initiative introduced by the Government is something both active and passive jobseekers can fully rejoice over and leverage on in order to stay relevant in today’s complex economy.

The SkillsFuture initiative bolsters the Government’s intent to empower and encourage a society of lifelong learners. It focuses on offering enhanced funding for training courses and greater support for Singapore workers’ career progression, all benefits which can be obtained right from the time they begin their careers.

From the Time One Enters the Workforce

For instance, Singaporeans aged 25 and above can look forward to receiving a SkillsFuture Credit of $500. This credit can be used to pay for training courses supported by public agencies, including the full range of WSQ and non-WSQ courses funded by WDA. It can be used to pay for a short training course immediately or be accumulated to pay for more substantial training in the future. This offering is in line with the Government’s objective to help Singaporeans master new and necessary skills for the workplace. Young Singaporeans can take advantage of this scheme to gain essential skills that will allow them to contribute in their respective companies effectively and more confidently.

All Through Their Career Journey

The SkillsFuture initiative also consists of the SkillsFuture Study Awards scheme, which will be given to professionals in their early- or mid-career phase. This scheme was introduced to develop and strengthen employees’ skills in Singapore’s growth clusters – namely, in the advanced manufacturing, applied health sciences, smart and sustainable urban solutions, logistics and aerospace, and Asian and global financial services sectors.

Recipients of the SkillsFuture Study Awards will receive a monetary award of up to $5,000 to help defray the costs associated with work-related education and training. The award can also support those who already have specialist skills in these niche areas but wish to develop other competencies such as business and cross-cultural skills. Given the emphasis placed on developing talent in these growth sectors, employees who belong to – or jobseekers who intend to go into – these sectors can look forward to greater support for steady career progression.

Empowering Mid-Career Professionals

Furthermore, under the SkillsFuture intiative, Singapore workers aged 40 and above will enjoy a minimum of 90 per cent course fee subsidy should they apply for WDA-funded courses at the diploma, post-diploma and undergraduate degree level. A range of flexible, modular and bite-sized learning options will also be introduced to suit the demands of their busy schedules. This will provide mid-career professionals with more options to acquire relevant skills even if they don't possess the luxury of time to pursue a full qualification. Mid-career professionals can leverage on this scheme in addition to tapping their SkillsFuture credit to lessen the burden on their finances substantially.

The SkillsFuture initiative is in line with the Government’s promotion of lifelong learning. Given the increased training subsidies, early- and mid-career individuals will be given the impetus to upgrade themselves and sharpen their competitive edge in our fast-changing job market. With various new and continuing initiatives from which both active and passive jobseekers at any age can benefit, there really has not been a better time to upgrade yourself and encourage others to do so with you.

Keen on learning something new? Browse the variety of SkillsFuture courses here!

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