SkillsFuture Singapore is aiming to improve its outreach as to provide Singaporeans with opportunities to develop their potential throughout life regardless of their starting points. Among the newly-formed key priorities this year, the agency wants to reach those who have been unemployed.
SkillsFuture Singapore chief executive Ng Cher Pong said, “The group of unemployed Singaporeans certainly is a pressing issue. And that’s an issue that we’re working on very closely with Workforce Singapore; helping individuals to re skill, find new jobs.”
CNA reported that the agency is concerned that many Singaporeans are still unaware of, or unsure how, to tap the available programs.
The SkillsFuture Credits, where the Government helps all Singaporeans aged 25 and above receiving a sum to pay for approved skills-related courses, is one widespread scheme of the initiative.
SkillsFuture Credit users are well-distributed across all age groups, the update also said.
SkillsFuture also have other schemes such as the Earn and Learn and the Skills Framework.
The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Program is a work-learn program designed to give fresh graduates from polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) a head-start. It provides them with more opportunities to build on the skills and knowledge they acquired in school, and supports their transition into the workforce.
The Skills Framework provides key information on sector and employment, career pathways, occupations/job roles, as well as existing and emerging skills required for the occupations/job roles. It aims to create a common skills language for individuals, employers and training providers. This further helps to facilitate skills recognition and support the design of training programs for skills and career development.
SkillsFuture Singapore also plans to improve its arrangement with both individuals and companies. Individuals can apply for subsidies for classes to gain skills for career growth.
CNA reported that its latest update said around 380,000 Singaporeans have benefited from programs under the SkillsFuture movement last year, which is 30,000 more than in 2015. And 920,000 training places have been taken up, around 11 percent more than the 830,000 the year before.
“We’ve made steady progress in SkillsFuture over the last one-plus year,” said Mr Ng, “The steady increase in the number of training places supported by the Government that has been taken up, benefiting more enterprises, benefiting more individuals — I think we’ve made some success there.”
“But also more importantly, SkillsFuture is about changing mindsets around lifelong learning and skills mastery. We’ve seen some shifts in the mindsets of enterprises and individuals,” he said. He also noted that it is still early days, with a lot of hard work to do.
SkillFuture said in its January update that more than 126,000 Singaporeans have used the SkillsFuture Credit to up-skill or re-skill themselves by end December 2016. Yet this number is actually considered a low take up rate as it represents only about one in 20 eligible Singaporeans.