Do you know about the SkillsFuture Credit programme being run by Singapore? Do you know what that programme is all about? This article is an attempt to make you aware about this programme.
What is the SkillsFuture Credit Programme?
In February 2015, it was announced during the Budget Speech that every Singaporean aged 25 and more will be getting a SkillsFuture Credit worth S$500 from the next year, i.e. from 2016. S$500 is the initial amount as the government plans to make additional top-ups on a regular basis. The credits can be used only for training, education, and learning.
Why was the SkillsFuture Credit Programme Launched?
During the above-mentioned Budget Speech, it was emphasized that Singapore needed to strengthen and continuously renew profound skills that are essential for the advancement of its economy to a higher level. It was mentioned that Singaporeans needed to become “a meritocracy of skills”.
This programme is part of the push that the government intended to give towards the vision of every Singaporean taking responsibility of upgrading himself or herself. The programme intends to motivate lifelong learning and individual ownership of development of skills.
Does a Singaporean Need to Apply for the SkillsFuture Credit Programme?
Every eligible Singaporean received his or her SkillsFuture Credit account activation letter, throughout January 2016. They were then capable of accessing their account for using their credit to enroll for courses that were to commence from January 2016. So, those turning 25 this year do not need to make any application. They just need to wait for their activation letter.
What Are the Courses for which the SkillsFuture Credit can be used?
The credit can be utilized for around 10,000 recognized courses covering almost 60 functional areas across all major industries.
Recognized Courses Include:
- Courses approved or subsidized by WDA (Singapore Workforce Development Agency)
- Chosen courses offered by the MOE (Ministry of Education) – funded institutions
- Courses offered by e2i of NTUC
- Courses backed by public agencies
- SkillsFuture@PA courses presented by People’s Association
- Courses presented by the participating Silver Infocomm Junctions of the Infocomm Development Authority
- Selected courses at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, LASALLE College of the Arts, and SIM University
Does the SkillsFuture Credit Expire?
The credit does not expire. The government makes regular top-ups. Thus, there is absolutely no need to jump into using the SkillsFuture Credit.
Can an Employer ask his Employee to use the SkillsFuture Credit for Training or Educational Programmes that the Organization Sends the Employee for?
The SkillsFuture Credit is for an eligible Singaporean’s own use. It is for empowering an eligible Singaporean to take responsibility of their own learning that might continue lifelong. The credit is not for the individual’s employer to use and save on the training expenses that the company is supposed to bear.
On how many occasions in one year can the SkillsFuture Credit be used if there still remains a balance after it has been used once?
There happens to be no limit or restriction on the number of occasions on which an individual can use the S$500 credit, provided they still have some balance in their SkillsFuture Credit account and the commencement dates of the courses they take differ.
If the SkillsFuture Credit Amount of S$500 is not enough for the course someone wants to take, what can they do to receive further assistance?
Most of the approved courses have been already subsidized by the government to a large extent. The SkillsFuture Credit amount of S$500 can be utilized over and above these subsidies offered by the government.
Those who are NTUC union members can also use the UTAP or Union Training Assistance Programme. This is an individual skills upgrading account for NTUC union members. The account allows members to enjoy up to S$250 or 50% in funding, every calendar year, to pay the fees of approved courses.
The SkillsFuture Credit Programme is a stepping stone for surviving the economic transition as the jobs and economy of Singapore are changing quickly in such a manner that might not be expected by workers. The SkillsFuture Credit should thus be used for deepening an individual’s already existing domain skills and for exploring skills that would be useful in exploiting newer opportunities. Over 2 million Singaporeans received the SkillsFuture Credit in the year 2016.