A one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of $500 will be given this year to every Singaporean aged 25 years and above to encourage them to learn new skills.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday that this is part of the Government's investment to support individuals, enterprises and mid-career workers.
The top-up, which will be available from October, will expire in about five years, by the end of 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 Mr Heng. The earlier $500 SkillsFuture credit, given in January 2016, had no expiry date.
He noted that the SkillsFuture movement has made good progress five years after its launch. The training participation rate has risen from 35 per cent in 2015 to 49 per cent last year.
As at the end of last year, more than half a million Singaporeans had used their SkillsFuture Credit to pick up new skills and develop new interests, said Mr Heng.
To support companies to develop their staff, Mr Heng also announced that more government funding will be available for employers to defray costs of business transformation, as part of a new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit.
It will provide a one-off $10,000 credit per enterprise to cover 90 per cent of out-of-pocket expenses like business transformation, job redesign and skills training.
To encourage employers to develop their workers' skills, $3,000 of the credit will be reserved for workforce transformation programmes, such as professional conversion programmes and job redesign initiatives.
More than 35,000 firms, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will benefit.
"Enterprises know best the skills needed for their business to transform and can play a key role in helping their workers learn and apply new skills," said Mr Heng.
"By investing in their staff, they build a stronger workforce, which can in turn help enterprises succeed. We must strive to achieve this virtuous cycle."
The Government will also work with up to 40 large anchor enterprises to support training for their sectors and value chain partners, he said, benefiting 4,000 SMEs over the next five years.
"Anchor enterprises are supported by many SMEs. By helping to raise the skills of workers in these SMEs, the entire supply chain benefits," said Mr Heng.
By 2025, institutes of higher learning will more than double the capacity of SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes, he added, allowing more local students to learn in a real work setting.
"Our aim is to make this a mainstream pathway, with 12 per cent of each cohort going through these pathways, up from 3.5 per cent today," he said.
To support worker training, the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning at Nanyang Polytechnic will be expanded to two more higher learning institutes over the next few years and benefit more than 1,200 enterprises.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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