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540,000 Individuals and 14,000 Enterprises Benefitted from SSG-Supported Programmes in 2020

540,000 Individuals and 14,000 Enterprises Benefitted from SSG-Supported Programmes in 2020

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)-supported initiatives have widened their reach in 2020, with about 540,000 individuals and 14,000 enterprises benefitting from its programmes, as compared to 500,000 individuals and 14,000 enterprises in 2019. 

According to survey results from the Training Quality and Outcomes Measurement system, SSG-funded training continued to receive positive response. About 87% of the 57,000 trainees surveyed in 2020 indicated that they were able to perform their work better after undergoing SSG-funded training, a slight improvement from 86% in 2019.

Despite restrictions to in-person learning and the shift towards online training, the training participation rate for the resident labour force aged 15 to 64 remained similar to 2019 at 49% (as reflected in the Ministry of Manpower Labour Force Report 20201). The report noted that 61% of employed trainees felt that “training had become more important in view of the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market”. It also reported that “training had better prepared them for emerging changes”, with 80% of employed trainees indicating that “their skillsets enabled them to thrive or cope with the changes that will emerge post COVID-19”.

SSG’s measures in response to COVID-19

SSG’s efforts over the years to build up a robust and sizable Continuing Education and Training ecosystem have enabled us to respond rapidly to the impact of COVID-19 on individuals and enterprises. New measures were quickly implemented, and existing initiatives were rapidly adjusted to support individuals and enterprises affected by the pandemic.  

SSG launched the SGUnited Skills Programme and the company training track under the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme as part of the national SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package in Jul 2020. Both programmes aim to provide individuals with training opportunities to upskill themselves and enhance their employability for transition to new careers or roles that emerge in the job market. As of 31 Dec 2020, about 9,800 individuals had enrolled into these programmes, comprising 7,200 under the SGUnited Skills Programme and 2,600 under the company training track of the SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme. In particular, sectors in ICT and Media, Professional Services, Manufacturing and Healthcare reported high enrolment.   

Enterprises in severely affected sectors also received aid through the Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP), which was rolled out in Mar 2020 to provide enhanced absentee payroll support and enhanced course fee subsidies for eight sectors2. As of Dec 2020, about 155,000 training places had been taken up, benefitting more than 72,000 employees across 1,300 enterprises. Sectors such as Air Transport and Tourism saw strong take-ups, with more than 59,000 training places and 44,000 training places filled respectively. Some of the skills that employees had taken up under ETSP include data analytics, digital commerce, customer service, as well as other soft skills in communication and adapting to change.

Continuing the long-term focus on the next bound of SkillsFuture

Even as we continue our support measures in response to the COVID-19-related economic downturn, we remain focused on our long-term plan of strengthening the skills ecosystem to support individuals and enterprises. More than 188,000 Singaporeans utilised their SkillsFuture Credit in 2020, an increase from about 156,000 Singaporeans in 2019.   

The Skills and Training Advisory services were introduced in Jul 2020, providing one-to-one customised support to individuals on their learning and upskilling needs. Over 5,700 individuals benefitted from the consultation services, and were referred to suitable courses that met their training needs. Some 95% of survey respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the services, with 91% agreeing that they were clearer and more confident in making training decisions. This initiative complements the one-to-many SkillsFuture Advice workshops conducted in the heartlands to help residents chart their learning journey. The SkillsFuture Advice workshops served about 22,000 individuals in 2020, as compared to over 54,000 individuals in 2019. 

Enterprises especially SMEs, form part of the key focus groups under the next bound of SkillsFuture. Since the introduction of the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE), about 180 enterprises have embarked annually on programmes and implemented workplace learning processes. Additionally, about 250 enterprises benefitted from the SkillsFuture Queen Bee partnerships in 2020, tapping on the expertise and knowledge of anchor companies to enhance their employee skills development and workplace learning capabilities. About 3,400 enterprises have sent their employees for training in courses under SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit. 

The SkillsFuture Work-Study programmes, which provide more educational pathways for students from the Institute of Technical Education, Polytechnics and Autonomous Universities, continue to see strong participation. Despite the economic downturn, 590 companies participated in the programmes in 2020, providing placements for about 1,700 individuals to gain valuable work and industry experience while pursuing academic and work qualifications. About 600 companies and 2,200 individuals participated in the programme in 2019.
Individuals continue to take up training in technology-related areas 

In 2020, enrolment for courses remained strong for priority and emerging skills in areas such as data analytics, digital media, entrepreneurship and tech-enabled services. More than 36,000 individuals took courses under the SkillsFuture Series, from 37,000 in 2019. Popular SkillsFuture Series courses include “Artificial Intelligence for Everyone – A Practical Experience”, “Data Analytics Begins With Me”, “Digital Marketer Essentials”, “NICF - Certified ScrumMaster” and “Robotic Process Automation”. Additionally, about 37,000 individuals participated in the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme in 2020, as compared to about 36,000 in 2019. 

Combating fraud and abuse

Even as SSG rolled out new initiatives to respond to the pandemic, we ensured that necessary measures continued to be in place against fraud and abuse of SSG funding. We strengthened in-house systems, processes and capabilities to combat fraud and abuse of SSG funding, leveraging risk mitigation strategies and technologies, such as anomaly detection and fraud analytics tools. In 2020, SSG took actions against 38 training providers and companies who abused SSG’s funding or breached our terms and conditions. One such case is elaborated below:

• A debarred shareholder of a suspended training provider tried to circumvent his ineligibility for SSG funding by playing the role of a “shadow” shareholder to two other training providers to access SSG’s funding. Upon the conclusion of investigations, SSG terminated its contracts with the two training providers and barred them from funding access. 

Mr Ong Tze-Ch’in, Chief Executive of SSG, said: “2020 was a challenging year for SkillsFuture Singapore. Beyond rolling out the Next Bound of SkillsFuture, we had to rapidly respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 to support Singaporeans and Singapore-based employers. I am encouraged by the fact that we continued to make steady progress in our reach in 2020, with 540,000 individuals and 14,000 companies tapping on SSG’s support. As we look ahead to 2021, SSG will continue to support individuals, focusing on unemployed jobseekers, and employers, especially those in affected sectors. We will work with our training providers, SkillsFuture Queen Bees, industry and community partners to increase the accessibility and relevance of training for Singaporeans and for Singapore.”

Please click here to view the Year in Review infographic.

1 Ministry of Manpower Labour Force Report 2020. Released on 28 Jan 2021


2 Eight sectors are Aerospace, Air Transport, Arts & Culture, Food Services, Land Transport, Marine & Offshore, Retail and Tourism