Singapore

Most of SkillsFuture credit claims are work-related: Minister

People need more guidance in finding relevant courses, says Education Minister

More than 90 per cent of SkillsFuture credit claims that people have made are work-related, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said yesterday, and the most popular courses are in information and communications technology.

In response to a question on helping people find courses that are more relevant for work, Mr Ong acknowledged that some older Singaporeans may use their SkillsFuture credits for lifestyle-related courses like learning a language, flower arrangement or baking.

"I also don't want to be too judgemental - what is leisure to me may be a profession to somebody else. (It) may be a home-based business for somebody else. What to me may be a language to understand a drama series may be a work requirement for somebody else," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced in his Budget speech last week a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of $500 for every Singaporean aged 25 years and above, and an additional $500 for those aged 40 to 60, to help them move to new jobs or new roles.

The Government had earlier, in January 2016, given a $500 SkillsFuture credit to all Singaporeans aged 25 years and above.

Speaking to reporters yesterday after visiting training sessions at NTUC LearningHub in Bras Basah, Mr Ong said individuals need more guidance to find relevant courses.

'A THOUSAND FLOWERS'

"We started off with letting a thousand flowers bloom, so we have many courses, but sometimes that also causes some confusion, where an individual doesn't know where to start, or what to learn," he said, adding that the range of courses should evolve to become more targeted for workers' needs.

To that end, the SkillsFuture portal, which contains resources on industry insights, job roles and training courses, has become more personalised in its functions, and users can see how their peers have rated certain courses.

More than 100,000 Singaporeans have attended workshops and talks under the SkillsFuture Advice programme at community centres or clubs, to find out more about skills upgrading.

Ms Angelia Tan, 48, is taking a three-day course on computer networking fundamentals at NTUC LearningHub.

The course fee of $153 will be covered entirely by her SkillsFuture credit.

"The additional top-ups will be very useful. It can be tough especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sponsor such courses, which can cost thousands of dollars at private training providers," said the general manager at a tech SME that specialises in security services for law enforcement.

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