Grants of up to $10,000 for skills upgrading

Singaporeans looking to deepen their skills can look forward to bond-free cash grants of up to $10,000. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Singaporeans looking to deepen their skills can look forward to bond-free cash grants of up to $10,000. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Singaporeans looking to deepen their skills can look forward to cash grants of up to $10,000.

The Government will be giving out individual study awards of up to $5,000 to support young and mid-career workers who are looking to upgrade their skills.

For more senior workers, the Government will set aside fellowships worth $10,000 each to help them gain mastery in their respective fields and train others.

Both grants are bond-free.

The study awards will be introduced in phases, starting this year, the SkillsFuture Secretariat said at a media briefing yesterday.

Up to 2,000 study awards are expected to be given out annually for courses approved by public sector agencies. These may include overseas courses in certain sectors.

The fellowships will be introduced next year and the secretariat aims to award up to 100 each year in both craft- and knowledge-based fields.

The move is a timely one and can spur interest in key growth areas such as smart technology, said Singapore Human Resources Institute (SHRI) president Erman Tan.

Unlike the fellowships, the study awards are limited to developing skills for five growth sectors and four priority sectors identified by the Government. These include advanced manufacturing, smart urban solutions, hospitality, social services and early childhood education.

But people who already have deep specialist skills and want to improve their soft skills in areas such as business and cross-cultural understanding can also apply.

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Zainudin Nordin, who is chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Manpower, said targeting the study awards at growth sectors is a more holistic way to help Singaporeans.

"We need to show Singaporeans where the opportunities are and give them some means to get there," he said.

SHRI's Mr Tan suggested expanding the scope of the awards if there are other areas people want to have training in.

"People will want to know whether there is real growth in income and career prospects after taking up the award or fellowship," he said.

Pre-school teacher Seet Thia Puay, 34, hopes to take courses in training and customer service.

"Companies usually don't send us for courses that are not strictly related to early childhood education," she said. "The funding lets me take charge of my own development."

joseow@sph.com.sg