1,300 sign up for SGUnited Skills programme out of more than 6,500 training places so far: Ong Ye Kung
SINGAPORE — The SGUnited Skills programme, which offers full time training opportunities to Singaporeans, has seen about 1,300 signups out of more than 6,500 training places available so far, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (July 17).
- 1,300 sign up for SGUnited Skills — a six- to 12-month full-time training course
- More than 6,500 training places are available so far
- SGUnited Skills programme a "critical economic institution", Mr Ong Ye Kung said as country tackles Covid-19 crisis
SINGAPORE — The SGUnited Skills programme, which offers full-time training opportunities to Singaporeans, has seen about 1,300 signups out of more than 6,500 training places available so far, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (July 17).
The programme is a six- to 12-month full-time training course in sectors such as information communications, manufacturing and healthcare, designed to help jobseekers upgrade themselves with industry-relevant skills while the economy recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.
Course fees can be substantially, if not fully, offset by SkillsFuture Credits, and trainees will receive a training allowance of S$1,200 a month.
Giving an update on the programme at a SkillsFuture forum, Mr Ong said more than 113 courses are being offered by 13 training providers so far. More courses are expected to be rolled out in the coming months, he added.
“By strengthening existing skills and building up new ones, training through the SGUnited Skills programme is an effective avenue for Singaporeans to access better or broader employment opportunities later on,” said Mr Ong in his opening speech.
He also noted that the forum, which marks the start of the SkillsFuture Month, was held amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which “devastated our economy” in the second quarter of the year and has caused “far-reaching changes to our way of life”.
He said: “The incomes of self-employed persons have been drastically affected, and we are seeing companies starting to retrench workers in quite sizeable numbers.
“The disaster preparedness of every economy is now put to a stringent test. It is not just a test of immediate response and agility, but also emergency readiness that has been built up over the years,” Mr Ong said.
He added that along with Singapore’s national reserves, SkillsFuture — a system launched in 2015 to retrain and support lifelong learning of workers — has put Singapore in “a better position than many countries” to face the Covid-19 crisis.
Mr Ong believes that it is now one of Singapore’s “most critical economic institutions”, and one that has dual roles.
“In peacetime, we use it to upgrade the skills of Singaporeans to enhance expertise, raise productivity, pursue new careers.
“During emergencies and crises, we use it to save jobs and help Singaporeans find new job opportunities,” he said.
Mr Ong on Friday also announced the launch of the Singapore Management University’s SGUnited Business and Digital Transformation Programme, being jointly delivered with SkillsFuture Singapore and eight industry leaders from various sectors.
Tailored to meet the needs of companies, especially small- and medium-size enterprises, the programme will equip experienced professionals, managers and executives from different sectors with skills to help them pivot into new roles or careers, he said.
“The programme will be hands-on and highly applied, combining training, industry mentorship and real-life business projects from the sponsoring companies,” he said.
Mr Ong emphasised that with all these skills programmes in place, there will be a tendency for companies to set high standards and be stringent in the selection of trainees.
But he urged employers to hire individuals “who need help” even though they are not obligated to hire trainees at the end of the programme.
“There are many young, well-trained, talented young graduates who have no problem finding jobs, even during such times, but they, too, have a desire to train and to upgrade their skills, but they may not be our target group here.
“We want to target groups that are more vulnerable, that need our help with that six to 12 months of retooling at this stage of their career, in this current situation,” said Mr Ong.
Asked whether the take-up rate of the programme is lower than expected, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said in response to TODAY’s queries that it does not have a target.
It also could not immediately reply to questions on the more popular courses.
SKILLSFUTURE MONTH 2020
The SkillsFuture Month, being held from Friday until Aug 16, will feature a series of live webinars, online workshops and exhibitions for jobseekers.
SSG is partnering more than 80 community, education and industry partners such as the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and five Community Development Councils (CDCs) to reach out to more than 15,000 individuals.
Some of these initiatives include:
SSG and Workforce Singapore’s Jobs and Skills Fair from July 24 till July 28 which provides online career coaching, one-on-one skills and training advisory sessions, and includes physical activities at the Lifelong Learning Institute from July 24 to July 26
SkillsFuture@NTU, which features a series of virtual workshops on topics such as health, food sustainability and technological advances, as well as discussions on ways to keep abreast in a digital world
SkillsFuture Work-Study Fair organised by SP, which showcases work-study opportunities for fresh and recent graduates through webinars and virtual exhibitions curated by industry partners
SkillsFuture@CDC, which provides virtual and educational programmes on employability skills and lifelong learning topics for residents.