Starting from January this year, Singapore’s government has launched the widely discussed SkillsFuture Credit scheme. Under the scheme, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive a S$500 SkillsFuture Credit which can be used on top of existing government course subsidies to pay for a wide range of approved skills-related courses. These include courses at polytechnics, universities, private institutes as well as from online platforms.
Since the announcement of the scheme, Singaporeans from all walks have life have started to leverage on the scheme to acquire skills to be more competitive in the workforce.
While the intention behind the scheme is a good one, there are feedbacks saying that S$500 might not be enough. Here are some reasons why the S$500 SkillsFuture Credit is actually sufficient.
You can find plenty of courses cost under S$500
There are plenty of courses to choose from the SkillsFuture Credit courses directory, over 10,000 of them in fact, and you will realize that most courses cost under S$500. More often than not, these courses only take up 2 or 3 days of full time training, and usually you can be certified with less than S$500.
For example, the “27 Website Secrets That Get Visitors To Buy”, run by the Marketing Institute of Singapore costs S$480 for non member, and S$384 if you are a member. Another course, “An Introduction to the Fundamentals of the Personal Data Protection Act for Non-Legal Personnel” run by the Singapore National Employers Federation, only cost S$85 after the training grant.
If you are using the SkillsFuture Credit, you can claim for the credit within 30 days before or 90 days after the course starts.
Courses that you should check out
Rather than looking at the absolute amount that the government is subsidising, another way to be future ready is perhaps to identify what kind of skills that would make you more competitive as compared to your peers. If you need some suggestions on what kind of courses that can give you a competitive edge, here are a few that might be beneficial to you:
a) Business Chinese
c) DJ techniques
Take Sabrina for example, when Sabrina Ooi (24) took up Business Management at Singapore Management University, she never thought that she would one day be a part time DJ. When we spoke to Sabrina, agreed that having DJ as a second skill helps makes her a more interesting candidate for new opportunities or in meeting new people.
Most of these courses can be taken part time from local universities and they cost less than S$500. For some that might cost more, after the SkillsFuture Credit, they are kept at an affordable price range so that you can make the best out of the courses.
Online courses by Coursera
For those unfamiliar, Coursera is an “online university” which allows you to log into the website and take courses conducted online. What this means is that you will be able to access the lectures, the assignments and all the notes through Coursera from the comfort of your home. There are plenty of Coursera courses which are free.
If you’re interested in receiving a Course Certificate for a Coursera course, you will need to pay a fee; for some courses, this fee also covers full access to certain course features, such as graded assignments. Course fees range from about $20 to $130, way below the S$500 SkillsFuture Credit, depending on the course.
Many courses are already highly subsidised by the government
Another reason as stated on the SkillsFuture website, S$500 is actually a sufficient quantum because a lot of courses are already highly subsidised by the government to ensure that training costs are affordable.
The SkillsFuture Credit can be used on top of existing course fee subsidies provided by the government. Most of us might not be familiar with this, take the Workfare Training Support scheme for example – training allowance is available for Singapore Citizens aged 35 and years and above and earning ≤ $1,900/month under the scheme so that they can upgrade themselves to be more competitive in the workforce.
Make no mistake, the economy downturn is looming, and we have written much about it here at Vulcan Post. When Singapore’s deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the SkillsFuture scheme, he emphasised the need to foster and continually renew what he called deep skills that are critical for the next stage of Singapore’s economy.
“We must become a meritocracy of skills, not a hierarchy of grades earned early in life,” he said.
So if you are looking for advices on what kind of courses that will help you to improve your skills and to advance in your career, you can approach WDA Career Centres and e2i Career Service Centre if you need career and training advisory services.