Forum: Allocate some Budget funds to SkillsFuture scheme

People cross the road at Yishun bus interchange on Feb 11, 2019.
People cross the road at Yishun bus interchange on Feb 11, 2019.PHOTO: ST FILE

I would like to focus on the theme of training and employment in my feedback (Public can offer feedback ahead of Budget 2020, Dec 2), particularly on the barriers to workers taking up more individual-based training and ways to address these barriers.

I think that possibly the largest barrier, apart from time, is the money needed to pay for one's training.

The SkillsFuture credit of $500 is easily exhausted, and there have been Forum letters, from those whose credit has been used, about having to pay on their own for courses, which can be costly.

One way to address this is to allocate a certain amount in not just the coming Budget, but also annual Budgets, to the SkillsFuture scheme so that Singaporeans are continually spurred to keep upgrading themselves without being hampered by financial reasons.

The credit has not been topped up since the scheme started.

Also, top-up amounts can be based on criteria used for other schemes such as the GST Voucher, with those from lower-income households possibly receiving more.

Another way is for the Ministry of Education to automatically include all courses listed on the MySkillsFuture website - around 26,000 - to be approved for Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) use.

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A mere 28 per cent of courses are now PSEA-approved. My efforts in suggesting that training course providers apply to be included in the PSEA-approved list have not been successful.

A much more effective way is for the Government to take the lead, so that many more training companies can come on board and help Singaporeans in their quest for lifelong learning.

Kevin Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2019, with the headline 'Allocate some Budget funds to SkillsFuture scheme'. Print Edition | Subscribe