SkillsFuture a holistic movement, with multiple indicators to measure it

We thank Mr Tan Kar Quan and Mr Joseph Wong Yong Lye for their feedback on measuring the value of SkillsFuture (Review if SkillsFuture funds are really well spent, March 20; and Measuring real value of SkillsFuture; March 23).

The SkillsFuture movement comprises a suite of initiatives that builds a culture of lifelong learning for Singaporeans to take ownership of their skills development.

The SkillsFuture initiatives include job placement programmes, curated courses to build emergent and job-related skills, and training-related subsidies and grants for Singaporeans and businesses.

We estimate that spending on the SkillsFuture movement is about $1 billion a year and, today, there are more than 20 initiatives under the movement. We would like to clarify that SkillsFuture Credit is just one initiative under the movement. Spending on this initiative amounted to $37 million in 2016.

There is no straightforward way to measure the success of the SkillsFuture movement, given that it is multifaceted.

Hence, we look at a basket of indicators, including training participation rates, take-up rates of different SkillsFuture initiatives, qualitative feedback from various stakeholders to track the progress and impact of SkillsFuture, and benchmarking our efforts against similar initiatives by other countries.

As an illustration, since the SkillsFuture movement was launched in 2015, training participation rates have risen from 35 per cent in 2015 to 47.9 per cent last year. However, training participation rate is only one dimension to measure whether our workforce continues to upskill and reskill. It is equally critical to track the training outcomes, especially whether the skills acquired are put to use.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) therefore conducts regular surveys with individuals and companies which have participated in Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training.

Findings from the survey in 2016 showed that the majority of employers found WSQ training beneficial to their employees and businesses. Individuals also indicated that training had enabled them to work more efficiently and effectively. This survey will be progressively broadened to cover the courses funded by the Ministry of Education and SSG.

SkillsFuture is a long-term transformative journey. It will require Singaporeans, employers and the Government alike to be nimble. Singaporeans need to take ownership of their lifelong learning journey with the support of employers and the Government.

Patricia Woo

Director

Corporate and Marketing Communications Division

SkillsFuture Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2018, with the headline 'SkillsFuture a holistic movement, with multiple indicators to measure it'. Print Edition | Subscribe