Advertisement

New SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme highlights importance of lifelong learning journey: Education Minister Chan Chun Sing

It will provide $4,000 SkillsFuture credit top-up, mid-career training subsidies and allowance, will cost government S$100 million annually

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing provided details on the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Friday (1 March). (PHOTO: MCI/YouTube)
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing provided details on the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme during his ministry's Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Friday (1 March). (PHOTO: MCI/YouTube)

SINGAPORE — Education Minister Chan Chun Sing stressed the importance of a lifelong learning journey, as he detailed the new SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme (SFLP), which is aimed at enhancing skills development among Singaporeans aged 40 and above.

Speaking during his ministry Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Friday (1 March), Chan emphasising the need to enhance employability and ensure Singaporeans possess the skills required for success in an ever-evolving job market.

With the introduction of the programme, they will receive a $4,000 SkillsFuture credit top-up from 1 May, aimed at further alleviating the financial burden associated with training costs. Unlike the previous one-time $500 top-up limited to Singaporeans aged 40 to 60 in 2020, this new top-up has no expiry date.

"The $4,000 credit is geared towards boosting employability. It will not expire, so that you can use it at a juncture that suits you," Chan said.

"The SkillsFuture Level-up Programme will cost the government around an additional S$100 million each year, and more if there is stronger take-up.

"This is a significant investment by the government, and underscores our commitment to SkillsFuture as a key pillar of our social compact," he added.

Tailored learning opportunities

Besides the SkillsFuture credit top-up, SFLP will also support mid-career Singaporeans to undertake another subsidised full-time diploma. It will also provide a SkillsFuture mid-career training allowance.

This mid-career phase of SkillsFuture credit can be utilised for a curated selection of approximately 7,000 courses tailored to address industry demands and employment needs.These courses include full qualification programmes offered by Institutes of Higher Learning, covering educational levels from Nitec/Higher Nitec to Diploma, Undergraduate, and Postgraduate degrees.

Individuals can also pursue MOE-subsidised full qualifications from institutions like the University of the Arts Singapore and other Arts Institutions such as Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LASALLE College of the Arts.

Moreover, individuals in the mid-career phase can also benefit from SkillsFuture Career Transition Programmes, which are tailored train-and-place initiatives designed specifically to support mid-career professionals in transitioning into sectors with good employment opportunities.

SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme: Singaporeans aged 40 and above will gain enhanced support for skills development through the new programme starting from 1st May. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme: Singaporeans aged 40 and above will gain enhanced support for skills development through the new programme starting from 1st May. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Greater access to full-time diplomas for mid career Singaporeans

Singaporeans aged 40 and above will qualify for the Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy, for another publicly-funded full-time diploma at polytechnics, the Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) and arts institutions.

"Currently, Singaporeans can only receive one bout of government subsidies for a full-time diploma at Polytechnics, ITE, and the Arts Institutions. From 2025, we will subsidise Singaporeans aged 40 and above who enrol in a second full-time diploma," Chan said.

For instance, he explained by referring to an ITE upgrader wishing to venture into a new sector, such as the digital economy. They can opt for a full-time SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme, and SkillsFuture Singapore will provide around S$10,000 in subsidies for the training, with the remaining course fees fully offset by the S$4,000 SkillsFuture Credit.

The upgrader can also pursue a second full-time diploma in a high-growth area, receiving subsidies of about S$60,000, while the out-of-pocket course fees can be partially offset by the $4,000 credit.

"Using an ITE student as an example, the subsidy for a Nitec and Higher Nitec qualification will be around $70,000. So, on average, we invest over a quarter of a million dollars in preparing every Singaporean child for their first career," according to Education Minister, Chan Chun Sing. (INFOGRAPHIC: MOE)
"Using an ITE student as an example, the subsidy for a Nitec and Higher Nitec qualification will be around $70,000. So, on average, we invest over a quarter of a million dollars in preparing every Singaporean child for their first career," according to Education Minister, Chan Chun Sing. (INFOGRAPHIC: MOE)

Introducing the SkillsFuture mid-career training allowance

Singaporeans can also utilise a new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Training Allowance from early 2025 to partially offset the loss of income incurred during their training period.

Under this initiative, eligible individuals will receive an allowance of 50 per cent of their average monthly income over a year, capped at S$3,000 per month. This allowance can be drawn for up to 24 months over their lifetime, totalling up to S$72,000.

This allowance is available to individuals, including self-employed persons and freelancers, who have earned income based on government records in the latest 12-month period. Long-term unemployed individuals and caregivers, who have left the workforce for some time, will not qualify for the training allowance.

Chan said the government's lifetime commitment to helping an individual will be about S$300,000 or higher, excluding the training allowance. "While the exact amount may differ for different pathways, the concept is similar – continuous investment for the next 50 years beyond the school, rather than just the first 15 years in school," he said.

What constitutes success for the SkillsFuture national movement?

Introduced in 2015, the SkillsFuture national movement aims to foster a culture of continuous skills development and lifelong learning.

Chan said that while spending and course attendance numbers serve as indicators, the true measures of success lie in tracking employment rates, wages, and the overall competitiveness of both workers and enterprises.

He acknowledged the challenge in measuring these outcomes, as they are neither short-term nor directly causal. He cited examples where re-skilling may have helped workers retain their jobs or transition to new careers beyond receiving a pay raise.

Chan further explained the criteria for evaluating the success of the SkillsFuture movement, stating, "Whether Singaporeans have the confidence and competence to seize new career opportunities and tackle the future, And whether our enterprises are well-positioned to capture new business opportunities."

The new SkillsFuture Level-Up programme aims to offer greater structural support specifically tailored for mid-career Singaporeans aged 40 and above
The new SkillsFuture Level-Up programme aims to offer greater structural support specifically tailored for mid-career Singaporeans aged 40 and above. (PHOTO: SSG)

Do you have a story tip? Email: sgnews.tips@yahooinc.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter. Also check out our Southeast Asia, Food, and Gaming channels on YouTube.

Yahoo Singapore Telegram
Yahoo Singapore Telegram