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The Singapore Perspective

A good range of schemes to enhance lifelong learning

Be it career counselling advice for students hoping to chase their dreams or subsidies for mid-career Singaporeans looking to pick up new skills, a range of initiatives has been rolled out under SkillsFuture.

The number of schemes introduced is assuring for those who want to fulfil their aspirations. Here are just a few of them.

EDUCATION AND CAREER GUIDANCE

Education and career guidance will be available for students as well as adults. Individuals will, among other things, discover their passions and abilities. From primary schools to universities, institutions have adopted measures to help students make decisions on such matters.

EARN AND LEARN PROGRAMME

The Earn and Learn scheme, designed for fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates to work and gain qualifications at the same time, is gaining traction.

Students on the Earn and Learn Programme for the logistics industry learning about the driverless forklift at the Supply Chain Innovation Lab at Republic Polytechnic.
Students on the Earn and Learn Programme for the logistics industry learning about the driverless forklift at the Supply Chain Innovation Lab at Republic Polytechnic. ST FILE PHOTO

Since last April, the scheme has been rolled out in phases - starting with sectors such as food manufacturing and logistics.

In the programme, participants get job training, work on projects or even go on overseas attachments for 12 to 18 months,

They may work for four days a week and devote a day to studies. At the end of the programme, an ITE graduate gets a diploma and a polytechnic graduate receives an advanced or specialist diploma.

ENHANCED INTERNSHIPS

Institutions such as the polytechnics and ITE have started sending students on longer and more structured internships. These have clear learning outcomes and better mentorship and are part of their full-time diploma courses, Nitec, or Higher Nitec courses.

Unlike in the past, internships now allow students to take on more meaningful activities such as projects with their attached firms. All polytechnic and ITE courses will have enhancements to their internships by 2020.

SKILLSFUTURE CREDIT

More than two million people can now use $500 in credit each to pay for skills-based classes. Over 12,000 courses are available to Singaporeans aged 25 and above. The credits do not expire and will be topped up at various intervals, so they can be accumulated for more expensive courses.

SKILLSFUTURE STUDY AWARDS

Early to mid-career Singaporeans can tap on the awards for fee subsidies for courses to develop skills needed by future growth sectors. The awards, worth $5,000 each, are bond-free and can be used on top of existing Government course subsidies. Up to 2,000 awards will be handed out yearly.

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2016, with the headline 'A good range of schemes to enhance lifelong learning'. Print Edition | Subscribe