Manpower Ministry to roll out SkillsFuture scheme for companies

Participants at a robotic workshop at the Lifelong Learning Festival 2017 on Oct 28, 2017. PHOTO: IBM

SINGAPORE - Businesses will get help to make training a key part of their strategy, under a new SkillsFuture scheme to be launched by the Manpower Ministry (MOM).

This scheme aims to better support companies in growing and expanding into overseas markets, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Thursday (May 10) in an addendum to the President's Address.

Separately, MOM said the initiative will help employers put in place human resource systems, structures and processes so that they can provide better training and development to their employees.

More details on the initiative will be unveiled later this year, the ministry added.

The existing SkillsFuture programme provides resources, funding and courses to individual Singaporeans looking to deepen their skills in a wide variety of fields.

Aside from the new scheme, Mrs Teo said MOM will work towards having a more inclusive workforce, more progressive workplaces and providing workers with a greater sense of security in retirement.

She also urged businesses to play their part and transform.

To spur this transformation, MOM will work through economic agencies to provide selective flexibility in its foreign manpower policy to help businesses and industries meet short-term or emerging skills gaps, she said.

The ministry will also step up support for mid-career jobseekers and the long-term unemployed, such as through enhanced Place-and-Train schemes and Professional Conversion Programmes, Mrs Teo said. It will also support self-employed persons and freelancers, she added.

CPF members who top up their family members' accounts will get more support, and have better options to invest their savings for higher returns, she said.

Five other ministries and agencies released their addenda on Thursday - the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Communications and Information, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Research Foundation.

The theme for their addenda was "A Vibrant Economy, Innovative and Full of Opportunities".

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said MTI will continue to invest in and ensure good physical and digital connectivity to the rest of the world.

"These efforts will allow companies and people from around the world to do business with Singapore, through Singapore, and on Singapore platforms," he said.

"Through excellent physical and digital connectivity, we can add value to the flows of capital, goods, and services, not only when they are conducted in or through Singapore, but even when trade takes place elsewhere."

MTI will also provide support to enterprises for research and development, to develop new and innovative offerings, and to grow and transform themselves, Mr Chan added.

Meanwhile, the MAS will ensure that consumer price inflation is kept low and provide a conducive economic environment for innovation and investment, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister-in-charge of the MAS Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

MAS will also implement strategies to facilitate the growth of infrastructure financing, trade financing, and enterprise financing to support the region's development, Mr Tharman said.

In the addendum for his ministry, Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran said it will focus on strengthening the nation's infocomm, media and design sectors, and on building a digitally ready society.

This includes implementing the National Cybersecurity Strategy to strengthen the country's critical information infrastructure and develop its cybersecurity capabilities.

National Research Foundation (NRF) chairman Heng Swee Keat, meanwhile, said the foundation will continue to drive Singapore's research, innovation, and enterprise (RIE) efforts to enhance economic competitiveness and provide greater opportunities for Singaporeans.

"We will accelerate the deployment of solutions to enable economic transformation. These include new programmes to support the transformation of our maritime and aviation sectors to sustain Singapore's status as an international transport and logistics hub, and development of a more responsive and resilient next-generation energy grid architecture," he said.

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