Only 6.3% of 2 million Singaporeans took SkillsFuture Credit?

Editors note: This article was first printed and written on theonlinecitizen.com . 

As written by Leong Sze Hian and published on The Online Citizen on 9th January 2017.

Only 6.3% of 2 million Singaporeans took SkillsFuture Credit?

126,000 benefited from the SkillsFuture Credit scheme

The Straits Times article on 8 January, “126,000 Singaporeans pick up new skills in first year of SkillsFuture Credit scheme” states that “The first year of a government scheme to spur Singaporeans to pick up skills saw more than 126,000 people benefitting from it.

Two million Singaporeans eligible

The SkillsFuture Credit scheme, which was introduced last January for more than two million people, gives Singaporeans aged 25 and older an initial $500 credit to pay for skills courses.”

“Scheme’s uptake is encouraging” – only 6.3%?

As to “said the scheme’s uptake is encouraging” – does it mean that the scheme’s utilisation was only about 6.3 per cent (126,000 divided by 2 million)?

Only 1 in 20?

Isn’t this rather low as it represents only about one in 20 eligible Singaporeans? What are the reasons for this apparently low take-up rate?

Mismatch of skills offered?

Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC Er Lee Bee Wah spoke in Parliament about the scheme in August 2016.

She said, “I have noticed an issue in our push towards continuous learning and high productivity. From the feedback from my residents, it seems like that there may be some mismatch. The courses that the residents wanted to take, are not in the list of SkillsFuture Credit courses. And the courses that are available are not those courses that they want. So, according to my residents, SkillsFuture Credits cannot be used for certain professional qualifications like Certified Internal Auditor and Certified Information System Auditor. And these are qualifications that are highly sought after in the marketplace. Perhaps, there are other professional courses that the residents wanted to take as well.

I think SSG will have to periodically review the courses offered, and include courses that Singaporeans request for if they are suitable. This will enable it to fulfill its mission of funding courses that are responsive to the needs of industry.

Another potential issue is the number of people using their SkillsFuture credits. 18,000 used their credits in the first three months of the programme, but the number could taper off as many people do not find the time or motivation to upgrade themselves. I hope the SSG will come up with a plan to reach out to Singaporeans who have not used their credits yet. SSG could remind them of their credits and offer guidance on how to use their credits.”

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