SkillsFuture has referred 6 cases to CAD since 2016

Since the start of 2016, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has referred six cases of false claims to the Commercial Affairs Department for investigation, two of which were the major cases highlighted in Parliament on Monday.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Low Yen Ling released these figures yesterday, as MPs continued to scrutinise public incentive schemes during question time.

Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) asked if anything was being done about training providers that pressure people into signing up for SkillsFuture courses, by lying to them that SkillsFuture credits will expire.

Ms Low said 27 providers have been issued advisory, warning or suspension letters for breaching SSG's marketing guidelines. She did not elaborate on how many providers were suspended.

Public incentive schemes such as those under SkillsFuture have come under the spotlight, after an organised network cheated SSG of nearly $40 million by submitting false claims for training grants.

In another case, more than 4,400 individuals made SkillsFuture Credit claims amounting to over $2 million last year without having attended any training.

An inter-agency task force has been set up to evaluate SSG's fraud detection system, and the agency will also use data analytics to guard against fraud cases.

Ms Lee also asked about Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses and what students can do when they find that instructors fall short.

Ms Low replied that more efforts are under way to help Singaporeans make informed choices about training courses, through the MySkillsFuture portal which was launched near the end of last year.

Starting from this month, information on course quality and trainees' ratings of courses will be progressively published on the portal, she said.

These will cover areas ranging from the standard of the trainers to course content to the course's impact on job performance, among other things.

There are also plans for SSG to publish information on the outcomes of training courses it supports, said Ms Low, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry.

She added that SSG evaluates various areas, such as a training provider's financial management practices and its ability to develop curriculum, before giving accreditation for WSQ courses.

SSG also conducts random audits of accredited training organisations, she said.

Ms Low also urged people who have encountered unscrupulous or substandard course providers to inform SSG through its hotline, via e-mail, or the MySkillsFuture portal.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2018, with the headline 'SkillsFuture has referred 6 cases to CAD since 2016'. Print Edition | Subscribe