Beware, that SkillsFuture site could be bogus

Visitors check out the courses available at the SkillsFuture roadshow at Westgate mall on Jan 9, 2016.
Visitors check out the courses available at the SkillsFuture roadshow at Westgate mall on Jan 9, 2016.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

WDA posts warning on Facebook about websites and accounts with similar names

The websites have catchy and official-sounding names like skillsfuture.credit and www.skillsfuture.edu.sg that place them at the top of Web searches.

They invite Singaporeans who have received the $500 SkillsFuture training credit to sign up for a personalised training plan or career guides.

But while they might resemble the official SkillsFuture website, they are neither run nor sanctioned by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) which is running the national SkillsFuture drive to boost the skills of workers.

The WDA took to Facebook yesterday to warn the public about websites and accounts with names similar to SkillsFuture.

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Some of them may contain inaccurate or misleading information. We would like to advise the public that some of these may be private companies that are not providing the official SkillsFuture and SkillsFuture Credit programmes.

SINGAPORE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AGENCY

"Some of them may contain inaccurate or misleading information. We would like to advise the public that some of these may be private companies that are not providing the official SkillsFuture and SkillsFuture Credit programmes," the WDA said.

The websites may also be gathering personal data for commercial gain, the WDA told The Straits Times. It added it was "looking into" two websites: skillsfuture.credit and www.skillsfuture.edu.sg, and said it would be contacting them to remove their content.

A check of online registers showed that the www.skillsfuture.edu.sg website was set up by private school Aventis School of Management in April last year.

The school was not available for comment when contacted at its Concorde Hotel office yesterday.

WDA's website showed it has approved the school to run a part-time course on managing emotions at work under SkillsFuture Credit since November last year.

The website skillsfuture.credit was set up earlier this month by tech start-up Glints, which offers customised training plans to those who register with it.

It is offering to comb through the 10,000 SkillsFuture Credit courses, and draw up plans for members on which courses they should take to achieve their career goals.

The three founders of Glints stressed that they were not trying to pass themselves off as the official website.

Co-founder Looi Qin En said: "We see our platform as being supplementary to WDA's efforts, not replacing it. We make it clear in our phrasing that we're not official, and our Glints logo is one of the first things you see on entering."

The three, who turn 23 this year, gave up places at US universities in 2014 to focus on Glints, with which they hope to boost the employability of their peers. They now work with 1,500 employers to place their 20,000 members.

In the 11 days since their site went live, 800 people have registered.

The trio said none of the new members thought their site was the official one.

They added that they will be reaching out to the WDA as soon as possible.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2016, with the headline 'Beware, that SkillsFuture site could be bogus'. Print Edition | Subscribe