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Budget 2020: SkillsFuture expansion to aid Singaporeans' development

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
A screenshot of the SkillsFuture website

SINGAPORE — SkillsFuture, a government-funded programme that helps Singaporeans to develop new job skills, will be expanded as part of a $8.3 billion Transformation and Growth package.

The expanded programme will benefit young Singaporeans, enterprises and mid-career workers, said Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat as he delivered Budget 2020 to Parliament on Tuesday (18 February).

Five years after SkillsFuture was launched, Heng said that “good progress” has been made, with the training participation rate rising from 35 per cent in 2015 to 49 per cent in 2019. As of the end of last year, SkillsFuture Credit has helped more than half a million Singaporeans pick up new skills and develop new interests.

From January 2016, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above were given an opening credit of $500. The credit does not expire and can be used to upgrade your skills via courses such as basic accounting, training in Microsoft Office and 3D printing and modeling essentials.

SkillsFuture Credit top-up

As part of the next stage of SkillsFuture, a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top up of $500 will be given to every Singaporean aged 25 and above, to be available from 1 October. This top-up will expire by end-2025.

“This is to encourage Singaporeans to take action early to learn new skills, and to make the best use of this period of economic slowdown,” said Heng.

SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit

Next, a new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit of $10,000 per enterprise will be provided to encourage employers to transform their workforce and enterprise. This credit can be used to defray 90 per cent of out-of-pocket costs of business transformation, job redesign and skills training. It will benefit more than 35,000 enterprises, most of which will be SMEs.

The government also aims to partner up top 40 anchor enterprises to support training for their sectors and value chain partners. This will benefit 4,000 SMEs over the next five years.

The capacity of SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes will be more than doubled by 2025. This enables local students to learn in a real work setting.

The National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE), currently based at Nanyang Polytechnic, will be expanded to two more Institutes of Higher Learning over the next few years. It will aim to benefit more than 1,200 enterprises.

The Productivity Solutions Grant will also be expanded to include job redesign consultancy services.

Mid-career support package

Mid-career workers currently in their 40s and 50s are also getting help: the government aims to double the annual job placement of such workers to around 5,500 by the year 2025.

In this regard, a hiring incentive will be provided to employers who hire local jobseekers in this age group through a reskilling programme. For each eligible worker, the government will provide 20 per cent salary support to the employer for six months, capped at $6,000.

A special SkillsFuture Credit top up of $500 will also be given to every Singaporean aged 40 to 60 in 2020, over and above the previous top-up.

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