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Adjustments to Skills Training Schemes to Sharpen Focus on Manpower Development Outcomes

As announced during the Ministry of Education’s Committee of Supply debate in March 2021, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will be implementing three key measures to prioritise SSG’s resourcing on training schemes which will better meet the training needs of Singaporeans and in turn deliver stronger manpower development outcomes. These measures will be progressively implemented from January to December 2022.   

Revisions to SkillsFuture course fee funding  

SSG will revise the SkillsFuture course fee funding to focus the highest subsidy rates on training that delivers the strongest manpower outcomes, such as training tied to job placements. These revisions will be applicable to SSG-funded courses commencing on or after 1 January 2022, as follows:

(i)             Baseline course fee subsidies will be simplified and streamlined across PMET and non-PMET courses. Courses offered by SSG-appointed Continuing Education and Training (CET) centres will receive course fee subsidies of up to 70%, and certifiable courses approved by SSG will receive course fee subsidies of up to 50%.

(ii)            Enterprises and individuals who qualify for SSG’s enhanced subsidy schemes1 will receive an enhanced subsidy of up to 20 percentage points above the baseline course fee subsidies. This means that courses with the strongest manpower outcomes will receive course fee subsidies of up to 90%, inclusive of enhanced funding.

Revisions to Absentee Payroll funding

As previously announced, the Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP) has been extended to 31 December 2021 to allow companies to send workers for industry-relevant training and help their workforce emerge stronger post-COVID 19. Under the ETSP, companies are eligible for enhanced Absentee Payroll (AP) funding at 80% of the hourly basic salary, capped at $7.50 per hour when they send their employees for eligible courses.

From 1 January 2022, after the conclusion of the ETSP, AP funding will be revised to a more sustainable rate. This measure takes into account other support schemes for enterprise training that have been introduced in recent years, such as the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit. The revised AP rate2 will be fixed at $4.50 per hour and there will be a $100,000 cap on the maximum AP funding each company can claim for each year. This ensures that the benefits are more evenly distributed across companies.

Phasing out of SkillsFuture Qualification Award

The SkillsFuture Qualification Award, which was introduced in 2011 to encourage take-up of Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) full qualifications, will be phased out. This is in line with the move to encourage individuals to take up industry-relevant modular, bite-sized training to meet evolving industry needs. Singaporeans can continue to make use of their SkillsFuture Credit to take up relevant courses, including WSQ full qualifications, as they pursue their own training pathway. Eligible Singaporeans would have received a SkillsFuture Credit top-up in 2020.

To provide a transition period for the adjustments, eligible Singaporean trainees who wish to apply for the SkillsFuture Qualification Award will have up till 31 December 2022 to complete their WSQ qualifications. The date of completion is based on the date of assessment of the last module that contributes to the attainment of the WSQ full qualification.

Trainees who have attained the eligible WSQ qualifications will have up till 31 March 2023 to submit their SkillsFuture Qualification Award applications via the MySkillsFuture portal.

Measures are part of regular review

Mr Ong Tze Ch’in, Chief Executive of SSG, said: “These measures are part of SSG’s continual review of our schemes and funding. We want to ensure that more SkillsFuture funds are directed towards training that delivers on strong employment outcomes. These measures also take into account the many newer initiatives and schemes that SSG has introduced under the Next Bound of SkillsFuture. These include the SkillsFuture Credit top-up and the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package, both of which help individuals to reskill and upskill to remain employable. The Government has also rolled out the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit to help companies in their transformation efforts, including workforce development. SSG remains committed to supporting Singaporeans in their lifelong learning journey.”  

Annex: Infographic on funding and subsidy changes 

1SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy and Enhanced Training Support for Small and Medium Enterprises

2AP funding under the Workfare Skills Support (WSS) Scheme, which is currently at 95% of hourly basic salary will remain unchanged. Claims under the WSS AP funding will not count towards the $100,000 cap per company.