SkillsFuture training support to be extended to all sectors

A coding class at the NTUC LearningHub in Bras Basah. Singaporeans can check which courses are eligible for the early use of their SkillsFuture Credit top-up on the MySkillsFuture portal. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
A coding class at the NTUC LearningHub in Bras Basah. Singaporeans can check which courses are eligible for the early use of their SkillsFuture Credit top-up on the MySkillsFuture portal. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

From May, all employers who send their workers for selected training programmes can receive additional support from SkillsFuture Singapore funding, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced yesterday.

They will receive enhanced absentee payroll support at 90 per cent of hourly basic salary, capped at $10 per hour, up from 80 per cent.

The measure will provide additional cash flow relief for employers in view of the worsening coronavirus situation.

Currently, such support has only been provided for sectors directly affected by the Covid-19 outbreak such as the aviation, tourism, food services and retail trade sectors, and lasts for a shorter period of three months.

The support for all sectors has also been extended to the end of the year, covering eligible courses that start before Jan 1 next year.

Those in the arts and culture and land transport sectors will be able to qualify for enhanced absentee payroll next month.

They will also be eligible for enhanced course fee support of up to 90 per cent of the fees, up from a baseline rate of 50 per cent, Mr Heng announced.

In last month's Budget, it was announced that a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of $500 for Singaporeans aged 25 years and above would be made available from October.

Singaporeans will now be able to make early use of the top-up for selected courses from April 1, ahead of its full implementation date, said Mr Heng.

They can check which courses are eligible under the new "Advance Use of SkillsFuture Top-up" category on the MySkillsFuture portal.

Mr Heng also emphasised the need to build economic resilience on all levels, including in research and development, food supply, and at the industry level.

 
 

The matching rate under the SG Together Enhancing Enterprise Resilience (Steer) programme will now be doubled, with Enterprise Singapore matching $1 for every $2 raised through qualifying industry-led initiatives, he said.

The programme supports industry-led initiatives to help companies tide over economic uncertainties and build longer-term capabilities.

Mr Heng also urged businesses to make use of this downtime to digitalise, restructure and transform.

The SMEs Go Digital Programme, which supports businesses in building technological capabilities, will be enhanced to help SMEs implement safe distancing and business continuity measures, among other things.

The maximum support levels for the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) and the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG) will be raised to 80 per cent and 90 per cent, respectively, to spur transformation, he said.

The enhancements to these three schemes will last until December.

The PSG defrays the costs for adoption of pre-approved digital solutions, while the EDG encourages the adoption of technology and innovation to increase productivity.

 
 

Singapore is also building up its national stockpile of health supplies, including masks and hand sanitisers, said Mr Heng, and strengthening its food resilience for the long term.

"Some may be concerned about the impact on our food supplies, arising from supply chain disruptions. We need not worry," he said, noting that Singapore has in place a robust, multi-pronged strategy to ensure that it continues to have a stable supply of safe food.

Read Mr Heng's full speech here.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2020, with the headline 'SkillsFuture training support to be extended to all sectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe