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Singapore Budget 2020: $500 extra SkillsFuture Credit for mid-career workers aged 40 to 60

Joanna Seow on 19 Feb 2020

The Straits Times


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Some one million mid-career workers aged 40 to 60 this year will receive an extra $500 in SkillsFuture Credit to help them stay employable and move to new jobs or roles.


This is in addition to a top-up of $500 that will be given to all Singaporeans aged 25 and older, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his Budget speech yesterday.


Mr Heng said this is part of a new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package through which the Government aims to double the annual job placement of locals in their 40s and 50s to around 5,500 by 2025.


The SkillsFuture Credit top-ups can be used from Oct 1, and will expire on Dec 31, 2025, to encourage people to take early action.


The funds for older workers can be used for about 200 career transition programmes offered by continuing education and training centres, such as certificates in nursing care and infocomm technology infrastructure.


The original $500 in SkillsFuture Credit that was provided in 2016 will continue to have no expiry.


Workers who are now in their 40s and 50s grew up in a time when the economy was just starting to take off, noted Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister.


"When they started work, it was normal, even celebrated, to stay with one job, in one company, for life. As enterprises restructure, the nature of jobs has changed," he said.


Many people have adapted to these changes, picked up new skills and even switched careers. But some have not seen any job or career changes since leaving school, nor have they had the chance to upskill earlier, and are now facing greater competition from younger workers and workers overseas.


"I understand their anxieties," said Mr Heng.


"At the same time, with broader global shifts, exciting jobs will emerge. Our mid-career workers can seize these opportunities and do better for themselves and their families. The Government will do more to support them."


He said that there will be more places in reskilling schemes such as the professional conversion programmes under the Adapt and Grow initiative, which helps workers move into growth industries, and career transition programmes delivered by CET centres.


The Government will also provide 20 per cent in wage subsidies to employers who hire local jobseekers aged 40 and above through professional conversion programmes, place-and-train programmes for rank-and-file workers, and career transition programmes by CET centres. The hiring incentive will be given for six months and is capped at $6,000 in total.


Finally, a group of volunteer career advisers from professional communities will be assembled to provide peer support and career guidance to local workers.


IT security consultant Ang Seoh Choon, 49, who used up her SkillsFuture Credit and paid more than $5,000 to take cybersecurity courses and exams in 2017 before landing her current job, said she will be interested to see what courses she can take with the top-up.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.



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