Skills portal to guide S'poreans from age 11

Students and adults can use MySkillsFuture website to plan training and career paths

Primary 5 is the year that most pupils start to learn about fractions and decimals, and now it will also be the year that they can start to chart their future career.

A new website has been launched to help Singaporeans plan for their training and career needs from as young as 11 into adulthood, as people are encouraged to think about the learning process as a lifelong one.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam launched the MySkillsFuture website yesterday, as well as SkillsFuture Advice, a new public outreach programme.

Together, the two initiatives are supposed to "provide Singaporeans with both online and offline access to information about skills and training, as well as job opportunities, so that they can actively acquire and deepen their skills, and plan their careers", said the Ministry of Education (MOE), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) in a joint statement.

The website replaces two separate sites - a career guidance website run by MOE for students, and a jobs and training website run by WSG for working adults.

The three government agencies behind MySkillsFuture said that each person will have a personalised account, which he can use throughout his lifetime.

For primary school pupils, the website provides features such as games that help them find out what industry sectors they may like, while older users can use the self-assessment features to figure out their work values and career interests.

For primary school pupils, the website provides features such as games that help them find out what industry sectors they may like, while older users can use the self-assessment features to figure out their work values and career interests.

Working adults can use the website to find jobs and sign up for courses which they can pay for using their SkillsFuture credits, said the agencies.

MOE will issue accounts to all students from Primary 5 onwards, while adults can log in using their SingPass accounts, the national common password scheme to access government services.

Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, who was at the launch, said that the website will allow workers to "self-navigate and find out what are the jobs available, what are the skills requirements, what are the gaps and what are the training (courses) they can attend".

On why the website targets children from the age of 11, Mr Ong said that Primary 5 and 6 is about the time some start thinking about what they want to do in the future, especially for those who mature faster.

Temasek Junior College student Venkatesh Babu Dakshitaa, 17, was among those who have found the website useful since it was made available to schools in August.

She said she had been confused about what she wanted to do in future, and took a test on the portal that told her she was suited for a "design and creative thinking" type of career, like architecture.

Meanwhile, under the SkillsFuture Advice programme, Singaporeans and permanent residents can attend free 90-minute talks conducted in English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil at community centres and clubs on skills upgrading and career planning.

Some 1,000 Singaporeans have already attended the talks and another 80,000 are expected to do so over the next three years, said MOE, WSG and SSG.

Yesterday's announcement came a day after Mr Ong announced a major revamp of training schemes for working adults, with more courses and funding and a bigger role for institutes of higher learning in the works.

On whether this will lead to a cut in subsidies for master's programmes, he said yesterday that MOE is conducting a "holistic review" of the funding policy and no action will be taken until 2019.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2017, with the headline 'Skills portal to guide S'poreans from age 11'. Print Edition | Subscribe