SkillsFuture launch: From making bread to analysing the universe, 14 interesting courses to consider

A student in Diploma in Veterinary Technology, feeds Seabass fingerlings at the introduction of the Temasek Polytechnic aquaculture and marine life nutrition course. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - From January 2016, Singaporeans aged 25 and above will get $500 worth of SkillsFuture credits that can be used to pay for a variety of courses, ranging from financial literacy to photography and cooking.

The amount will not expire and the Government will provide periodic top-ups, so Singaporeans can save up to pay for more expensive courses.

The courses available include those approved by the Workforce Development Agency, selected courses provided by the Ministry of Education, some People's Association courses, online courses on Coursera and more.

The full list of about 10,000 courses is at the SkillsFuture website launched last month.

We highlight some of the more interesting courses:

1. Basic Bread Making

There are a number of culinary skills covered in the SkillsFuture@PA programme that is available at 15 Community Clubs island-wide.

Besides bread making, you can also sign up to learn Chinese and Japanese restaurant cooking, and make dim sum or pastries. Yum.

Find out more here.

2. Basic Clothes Accessorising

This course is not about picking out jewellery to go with your clothes but using basic needlework and embroidery to beautify cloth.

For aspiring tailors and seamstresses, there is also a SkillsFuture@PA course for clothes alteration, and one titled Laundry 101 to get all those garments clean and fresh.

There are also professional courses one can take up at various institutes for fashion design, tailoring and shoe construction.

Find out more here and here.

3. How Things Work

An intriguing title for a class on the physics of everyday objects and phenomenon from the University of Virginia via Coursera.

The eight-week course explores the science behind skating, falling balls, see saws and bumper cars.

Find out more here.

4. Befriending Skills and Practice

The one-day workshop is targeted at volunteers who need to build relationships with those they are helping.

This course by the Social Service Institute is among the more than 400 for volunteers and social service professionals including tertiary courses in counselling, psychology and sociology.

Find out more here.

5. An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing

This primer for the multi-disciplinary field of neuromarketing is conducted by the Copenhagen Business School via Coursera.

No, mind reading is not included, but it does promise to give an overview of the current and future uses of neuroscience in business and marketing.

Find out more here.

6. Everything is the Same: Modelling Engineered Systems

This advanced online course from Northwestern University explores how electrical, mechanical, and chemical systems may seem very different but often have very similar behaviour.

It promises that the coolest thing you'll learn in this class is to "build an electronic circuit that behaves exactly like milk in coffee". That's bound to wake the students up.

Familiarity with calculus is required for this course.

Find out more here.

7. An Exploration of Symmetry

"Symmetry is everywhere. In the grand scheme of things it is the blueprint by which the universe operates" is the inspiring introduction to this course in art and design.

Most interesting are the field exercises where students will meet specialists from botanists to geomancers and historians who work with symmetry.

Apply for this at the Nanyang Technological University. It is recommended that you have taken A-Level mathematics or the equivalent, and some chemistry "is very helpful".

Find out more here.

8. Animal behaviour and welfare

With modules titled like movies and children's stories such as 'The Truth About Dogs and Cats', 'Down on the Farm' and ' Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!', animal lovers will flock to this.

The course by The University of Edinburgh via Coursera actually explores serious issues concerning animal welfare, which include its public policy, ethical and scientific dimensions.

Find out more here.

9. Analysing the Universe

Science by doing is the mantra of this unusual course from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

By analysing publicly available data from NASA of satellite observations of astronomical x-ray sources, students can "sneak a peek at the Universe at its strange, awesome, cosmic best".

A knowledge of algebra and trigonometry is required.

Find out more here.

10. Basic Hydroponics Course

The one-day course by Tertiary Infotech covers the theory on soil-less culture and also provides hands-on training using a Hydroponics hobby kit.

It's among a handful of agriculture and fish farming courses which includes a diploma in marine science and aquaculture from Republic Polytechnic and a Temasek Polytechnic course on the Responsible Care and Use of Fish.

Find out more here and here.

11. Startup CEO

An online course by Udemy, it's a "how-to" guide on how to be a CEO. Don't learn from "the school of hard knocks", says the course organisers.

It is taught by instructors who have built successful startups, according to the course description.

Find out more here.

12. World Englishes

Most of us were taught one standard version of the English language in school, time perhaps to learn more?

SIM University offers this one in World Englishes, while it and other institutions offer a range of language and linguistic courses in all four national languages, as well as classes in foreign tongues such as Korean, Japanese and Thai.

13. Certified Internet of Things Specialist

True to the SkillsFuture scheme's name, there are several courses that offer forward-looking skill sets.

The five-day Internet of Things course by Rapidstart promises to cover many aspects of emerging technologies that will connect the many devices and appliances around us.

There are also courses related to big data (for example, Big Data Systems Architecture by Temasek Polytechnic), and bioinformatics (e.g. Assembling Genomes and Sequencing Antibiotics by the University of California, San Diego via Coursera).

A background in information technology is recommended for all three courses. Two years of experience in software development, data or business analysis is preferred for those who want to sign up to be an Internet of things specialist .

Find out more here.

14. "Kungfu"

These are actually online web developer courses from Udemy. But they do come with interesting names: 'Become a Microsoft Excel ninja', a 'digital marketing ninja' and get a 'black belt' in computer security. Hiyaa!

Find out more here.

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