Consider language, IT and service courses: Ye Kung

S'poreans 'can't go wrong' if they focus their learning in these areas

Those who do not know what SkillsFuture courses to enrol in can consider learning languages, info-comm technology and service excellence, said Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung.

Singaporeans "cannot go wrong" if they focus their learning on these three areas, he said yesterday.

"Even for myself, I am learning a new language," he said at the launch of a new SkillsFuture public outreach drive at Woodlands Community Club.

Mr Ong told The Straits Times that he has been taking Malay lessons.

"Conversational Malay is a very useful language to know in the course of my work. It is also a window to the Malay culture, which is important for me to understand more deeply," he said, adding that he has decided not to claim his SkillsFuture credits for his lessons.

All Singaporeans aged 25 and above receive $500 in training credits from the Government which they can use to pay for courses under the SkillsFuture programme.

Yesterday, Mr Ong and North West District Mayor Teo Ho Pin launched an outreach drive for residents in areas such as Bukit Panjang, Woodlands and Sembawang. Residents can call a hotline on 6248-5500 to sign up for a free 90-minute talk on skills upgrading and career planning.

GETTING DIRECTION

They know they must upgrade, but they do not know what they must upgrade to. They may end up going for courses that are not so useful.

MR ONG YE KUNG, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), on free talks to help residents know about SkillsFuture courses that would be useful to them.

The talks are held at the 21 community clubs under the North West Community Development Council. They are part of a programme launched by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam to get Singaporeans thinking about skills upgrading and lifelong learning.

Mr Ong said the latest series of SkillsFuture talks "is not so much training", but aimed at helping residents know what courses would be useful to them, based on their past work experiences and future career goals. "They know they must upgrade, but they do not know what they must upgrade to. They may end up going for courses that are not so useful," he added.

On whether the latest drive will add to the fatigue caused by the constant bombardment of SkillsFuture messages, Dr Teo said it would not.

"The level of awareness is still not there. People may have heard the word 'SkillsFuture', but they do not know what it is all about," he said.

Madam Anna Tan, a 58-year-old former clerk and grandmother of five, said she is interested in IT and floral arrangement courses.

"Nowadays, when we go to the market and hawker centre, we can use our phones to scan and pay. I want to learn how to do it to keep up with the times."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2017, with the headline 'Consider language, IT and service courses: Ye Kung'. Print Edition | Subscribe