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Image of Skillsfuture's website

Less than 12% of Singaporeans use their $500 SkillsFuture Credit to sign up for courses

by Vincent Low

It was reported yesterday (1 Feb) that the total number of Singaporeans using their SkillsFuture Credit was 285,000 at end of last year. The scheme started in Jan 2016.

The scheme provides Singaporeans aged 25 and above with $500 credit to use on training courses.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) chief executive Ng Cher Pong said, "(It is a) good, positive sign that Singaporeans are heeding the call that they're taking ownership, and they're charting their own learning and their own career path."

According to the latest population data from Singstat, the number of Singapore residents (i.e, citizens and PRs) who are 25 years and above is 2.879 million. However, it doesn't show the exact number of Singaporeans citizens who are 25 years and above.

But Singstat does give the breakdown for the total number of residents in Singapore: 3,965.8K with 3,439.2K Singaporeans and 526.6K PRs. That means about 86.7% of residents are Singaporean citizens.

So, working backwards, we can estimate that the number of Singaporeans who are 25 years and above is approximately 2.5 million. This means, only about 11.4% of Singaporeans have used their SkillsFuture Credit over the last 2 years, since the scheme started in Jan 2016.

Frauds

And since the scheme started, it has been plagued by scams, including a case reported last December in which SSG was cheated of nearly $40 million, the biggest case of a government agency being defrauded here.

Other cases include:

In Jan 2017, a total of 4,400 individuals were found to have submitted false claims by cashing in their credits but not actually attending any courses. Hilariously, the system detected thousands of claims flooding for the exact same course but revealed that everyone involved had actually acted independently. A total of $2.2 million was given out.

In Jul 2017, four men were charged for submitted fake SSG claims worth $73,000 from hundreds of people who didn’t actually attend any courses. The case is still currently ongoing investigations.

In Nov 2017, a duo was sentenced for submitting fake claims for courses that didn’t exist. They successfully defrauded nearly $20,000.

Jobless engineer from NTU struggling with $7.50/hour temp job

Meanwhile, transitioning.org, a support site for the unemployed Singaporeans, has recently reported that an engineer graduated from NTU has been essentially jobless for the past 3 years.

He is currently working as a temp worker getting only $7.50 per hour to get by.

"I have a degree but without job, the degree means nothing," he lamented.

"I am considering the (temp) job because it is the only company that is willing to hire me. The salary should be slightly higher than $1.2k after confirmation for full timers."

Perhaps the engineer should use his $500 SkillsFuture Credit to go sign up for a SSG course so that he can get an engineering job?

What do you think?