418,000 went for subsidised training in 2016

Last year, 418,000 people took up 950,000 places training places funded by the Ministry of Education and  SkillsFuture Singapore.
Last year, 418,000 people took up 950,000 places training places funded by the Ministry of Education and SkillsFuture Singapore. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

More than 400,000 people took up subsidised training courses last year, the agency which spearheads the national drive for skills upgrading said yesterday.

This was an increase from 2015, when 379,000 people took up 835,000 training places, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said in its statement.

Last year, this went up to 418,000 people and 950,000 places from various training providers.

Training places are jointly subsidised by SSG and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

More funding also went towards new subsidy schemes last year. Together, both SSG and MOE provided $458 million, a 20 per cent increase from 2015.

Most of this money was used to subsidise course fees, although 9 per cent went directly to individuals through measures such as the SkillsFuture Credit, introduced in January last year.

Through the scheme, more than two million Singaporeans aged 25 and older receive an initial $500 to pay for a variety of courses.

SSG published these new figures in its first report on the State of the Training Industry, which was released yesterday.

Popular courses included those on information and communications, service excellence, and education and training.

These are skills that are often sought after by employers, said Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute.

"We have noticed that people are seeing the need for good service, which differentiates them and makes for a better workforce," Mr Tan said. "Communication is also one of the important skills that employers will seek."

SSG also carried out post-training surveys for those who took part in Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) training. The WSQ is a national system that trains, develops, assesses and certifies workforce skills and competencies.

It found that most employers and individuals felt that such training was helpful.

"Based on the 2016 post-training survey results, most of these individuals and companies found the training useful to their work," said Mr Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of SSG. "As we continue to invest heavily in SkillsFuture, we will expand the tracking of training outcomes and how the skills acquired are utilised at workplaces."

SSG said that it is planning to expand post-training surveys to cover all training places funded by itself and MOE.

It also said: "We are encouraged by the take-up of SkillsFuture initiatives and the corresponding increase in the training participation rate in 2016, and we hope that Singaporeans continue to embrace lifelong learning and the SkillsFuture movement."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2017, with the headline '418,000 went for subsidised training in 2016'. Print Edition | Subscribe