Six years on from its inception in 2015, the SkillsFuture movement - Singapore's signature initiative to promote lifelong learning - has moved into higher gear. Last year, about 660,000 people took part in initiatives supported by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), an increase of 22 per cent over 2020, while the number of people who spent their SkillsFuture credits rose 31 per cent to 247,000. The benefits are showing. According to SSG, courses related to skills in IT, healthcare and professional services, which saw the highest demand, led to good employment outcomes. More companies have also come on board. The number of enterprises that took part in SSG programmes jumped more than 70 per cent last year to around 24,000, while more than 10,000 companies used their SkillsFuture enterprise credits to enrol their employees for training.
Changing work arrangements during the Covid-19 pandemic was no doubt one of the catalysts for the heightened interest in what SkillsFuture has to offer. Many workers who were furloughed or laid off were motivated to retrain. More companies also went digital, which led to new job roles, requiring new skills. But the need for reskilling will long outlast the pandemic. According to the World Economic Forum, more than 40 per cent of workers globally will need reskilling by 2025. The demand for skills is also changing rapidly. For instance, research by the consulting firm Gartner found that about one-third of the skills required for the average job posting in 2017 were no longer necessary in 2021.