Singapore Budget 2020: $500 SkillsFuture Credit top-up for Singaporeans aged 25 and above

The top-up of $500, which will be available from Oct 2020, will expire in about five years by the end of 2025. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of $500 will be given to every Singaporean aged 25 years and above to encourage them to learn new skills.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Tuesday (Feb 18) that this is part of the Government's investment to support individuals, enterprises and mid-career workers.

The top-up, which will be available from October, will expire in about five years by the end of 2025.

"This is to encourage Singaporeans to take action early to learn new skills, and to make the best use of this period of economic slowdown," said Mr Heng. The earlier $500 SkillsFuture credit, given in January 2016, has no expiry date.

He noted that the SkillsFuture movement has made "good progress" five years after its launch. The training participation rate has risen from 35 per cent in 2015 to 49 per cent last year.

As at the end of last year, more than half a million Singaporeans had used their SkillsFuture Credit to pick up new skills and develop new interests, said Mr Heng.

To support companies to develop their staff, Mr Heng announced that more government funding will also be available for employers to defray costs of business transformation, as part of a new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit.

It will provide $10,000 per enterprise to cover 90 per cent of out-of-pocket expenses like business transformation, job redesign and skills training. More than 35,000 firms, most of which are small and medium-sized enterprises, will benefit.

"Enterprises know best the skills needed for their business to transform, and can play a key role in helping their workers learn and apply new skills," said Mr Heng.

"By investing in their staff, they build a stronger workforce, which can in turn help enterprises succeed. We must strive to achieve this virtuous cycle."

In his speech, Mr Heng highlighted the example of Containers Printers, a local food packaging company that adopted digital technology and trained its workers to take on higher-value roles like real-time monitoring of production.

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