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SkillsFuture will support workers in traditional and emerging industries: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE — The SkillsFuture movement will not neglect support for traditional industries and skills even as it prepares workers for emerging industries, said Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Aug 16).

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SINGAPORE — The SkillsFuture movement will not neglect support for traditional industries and skills even as it prepares workers for emerging industries, said Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday (Aug 16).

His assurance came as the House debated two Bills for the setting up of new statutory boards that will coordinate the SkillsFuture drive.

First announced in January this year, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency will become Workforce Singapore (WSG) and take care of employment facilitation, career services and industry engagement. The agency will continue to be under the Ministry of Manpower.

The new SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), under the Ministry of Education, will be in charge of the implementation of SkillsFuture, coordinating pre-employment training, as well as continuing education and training for workers.

During the debate, Members of Parliament highlighted the need to support both businesses and workers with traditional skills in coping with the economic restructuring. They also reiterated concerns over the mismatch of skills and jobs, facilitating training for older workers, and ensuring the quality of training programmes.

Mr Ong said that both traditional and emerging sectors will need to build a foundation of skills and depth to build a future, making SkillsFuture applicable to everybody.

In that respect, Mr Ong said Mr Desmond Choo’s (Tampines GRC) suggestion of expanding Earn-and-Learn programmes to mature workers would be something his ministry would look into.

He also assuaged concerns over whether SSG would have a comprehensive understanding of employment needs given that it would come under the Education Ministry. Mr Ong said there would continue to be consultations with the industry in drawing up curriculum and programmes.

With more than 15,000 courses available in the SkillsFuture course directory, MPs like Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) and Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC) expressed concerns about the quality of the courses.

Mr Ong said a rating feature in the new Individual Learning Portfolio scheduled to be launched next year will use public feedback as one mechanism to curate courses.

Some of the key areas the WSG will be working on include partnering private placement companies to enhance employment facilitation and see how more companies can do a better job at better managing human resources, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.

Highlighting Singapore’s rapidly ageing workforce, Mr Lim said his ministry is in the process of launching and implementing the Sectoral Manpower Plan for human resources. “The more we invest in human resources, the more valuable this human capital will be in our future economy. This will be one of the priorities of WSG,” he said.

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