askST: How to make the most of the SkillsFuture credit

The Straits Times journalist Olivia Ho shares tips on what you can do with that $500 credit.

SINGAPORE - It's the new year and a good time to try something new.

If you've not used your SkillsFuture credit yet, here's how you can make the most of it.

All Singaporeans above 25 years old will get $500 in credit. You don't have to apply for it and it does not expire.

There are over 16,000 courses, from Chinese restaurant cooking to 3D animation at LaSalle College of the Arts to a master's in nursing.

You can also go for Japanese floral arrangement, baking or learn how to DJ in a club.

However, be careful when you sign up.

Check if the organisation is legitimate or whether the institution specialises in that subject matter.

Find out more about the credentials of the people teaching the course and whether that company is well-known in the industry.

If the course you are interested in costs more than $500, you will need to pay the balance.

But if you're an NTUC union member for instance, you can tap on the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) to help defray some of the costs.

Do note that the SkillsFuture credit is for personal use only.

This means your employer cannot use it to offset any company training costs.

The Government will make periodic top-ups to the account, although the timing and amount of the next top-up has yet to be decided.

So if you're hoping to pick up a new skill this year, you'll have $500 to help you do so.