New SkillsFuture scheme to help ensure training priority

Businesses will get help to make training a key part of their strategy, under a new SkillsFuture scheme to be launched by the Manpower Ministry (MOM).

This scheme aims to better support companies expanding into overseas markets, said new Manpower Minister Josephine Teo yesterday in an addendum to the President's Address.

In response to queries, MOM said the initiative will help employers put in place human resource systems, structures and processes so that they can provide better training and development opportunities to their employees.

More details about the initiative will be unveiled later this year.

The existing SkillsFuture programme provides resources, funding and courses to Singaporeans looking to deepen skills in a variety of fields.

Aside from the new scheme, Mrs Teo said MOM will work to having a more inclusive workforce, more progressive workplaces and providing workers with a greater sense of security in retirement. She also urged businesses to play their part .

To spur this transformation, MOM will work through economic agencies to provide selective flexibility in its foreign manpower policy to help businesses and industries meet short-term or emerging skills gaps, she said.

The ministry will also step up support for mid-career job seekers, the long-term unemployed, the self-employed and freelancers, she added.

Five other ministries and agencies released their addenda yesterday - the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Communications and Information, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and National Research Foundation.

The theme for their addenda was A Vibrant Economy, Innovative and Full of Opportunities.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said MTI will continue to invest in and ensure good physical and digital connectivity to the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, MAS will ensure that consumer price inflation is kept low and provide a conducive economic environment for innovation and investment, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who oversees MAS.

In the addendum for his ministry, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said it will work to strengthen the infocomm, media and design sectors, and build a digitally ready society.

National Research Foundation chairman Heng Swee Keat said that the foundation will continue to drive Singapore's research, innovation and enterprise efforts to enhance economic competitiveness and provide greater opportunities for Singaporeans.