418,000 people took subsidised training courses

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More than 400,000 people took up subsidised training courses last year, the agency that spearheads the national drive for skills upgrading said yesterday.

This was an increase from 2015, when 379,000 people took up 835,000 training places, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said.

Last year, this went up to 418,000 people and 950,000 places from various training providers.

Training places are jointly subsidised by SSG and the Ministry of Education (MOE). More funding also went towards new subsidy schemes last year.

Together, SSG and MOE provided $458 million, a 20 per cent increase from 2015.

Most of this money was used to subsidise course fees, although 9 per cent went directly to individuals through measures such as the SkillsFuture Credit.

Through the scheme, more than two million Singaporeans aged 25 and older receive an initial $500 to pay for a variety of courses.

SSG published these new figures in its first report on the State of the Training Industry.

Popular courses included those on information and communications, service excellence and education and training. These are skills often sought after by employers, said Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute.

"We have noticed that people are seeing the need for good service, which differentiates them and makes for a better workforce," he said.

"Communication is also one of the important skills that employers will seek."

SSG also carried out surveys for those who took part in Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications training, a national system that trains, develops, assesses and certifies workforce skills and competencies.

It found that most employers and individuals felt that such training was helpful.

SSG said it is planning to expand post-training surveys to cover all training places funded by itself and MOE.