SINGAPORE - Starting next year, Singaporeans will get $500 to spend on a range of 10,000 courses to upgrade their skills.
From Jan 1, more than 2 million Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive an initial SkillsFuture Credit of $500. These can be used to fund government-approved courses in 57 areas, including workplace literacy and numeracy, masters in nursing, or elementary Chinese restaurant cooking.
Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung announced the start date of the credit on Saturday at the Lifelong Learning Festival. "SkillsFuture Credit is not meant to be just a monetary grant, but is also a clear signal that each of us is empowered, and need to take charge of our own skills advancement," he said.
First announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam during the Budget in February, the SkillsFuture Credit is meant to support Singaporeans in their pursuit of lifelong learning. Singaporeans will receive a letter in January about their SkillsFuture Credit account activation.
The credit, which does not expire, will be periodically topped up by the Government.
Media lecturer Muhd Fuadi Rahmat, is eager to receive his credit, which he hopes to be able to use for a course on youth development and counselling.
"I have academic skills, but I want to be able to motivate my students and help them in other ways," said the 48-year-old, who teaches at the Management Development Institute of Singapore.
"This credit will help a lot. I might keep it for a while until I see a course I really want, but I aim to maximise it eventually."
At the two-day learning festival by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), Mr Ong also announced new lifelong learning initiatives such as a $3 million LearnSG Seed Fund. The fund, established by the Lifelong Learning Council with WDA's support, invites individuals and groups to submit proposals from next year onwards for community-led projects to promote learning. These could include making a video, or organising a learning festival.