Budget 2020: Additional S$500 SkillsFuture credit for S'poreans, new support package for older workers

Singaporeans between the age of 40 to 60 will receive a special Skillsfuture Credit top-up of S$500.

Jason Fan| February 18, 03:55 PM

Every Singaporean aged 25 years and above will receive a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of S$500, in order to help Singaporeans learn, develop new skills and stay employable.

This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat during the 2020 Budget announcement.

In addition to this, Singaporeans aged between 40 to 60 will also receive a special SkillsFuture Credit top-up of S$500, which can be used for selected reskilling programmes.

The government will also provide a hiring incentive to employers who hire local job seekers aged 40 and above through a reskilling programme, as part of the new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package.

S$500 SkillsFuture Credit for every Singaporean aged above 25

In his speech, Heng pointed out that the SkillsFuture Credit has helped more than half a million Singaporeans pick up new skills and develop new interests, and the training participation rate rose from 35 per cent in 2015 to 49 per cent in 2019.

He then announced a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up of S$500 for every Singaporean aged 25 years and above, in order to support Singaporeans to continue learning.

This S$500 credit will be available for use from Oct. 1, 2020, and will expire in about five years, by end-2025.

Heng said that the expiration is meant to encourage Singaporeans to take action early, in order to learn new skills and make the best use of this period of economic slowdown.

S$10,000 SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit

Heng also announced a new SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit, valued at S$10,000 per enterprise, in order to enhance the role of enterprises in developing their staff.

Employers can use the enterprise credit to defray 90 per cent of out-of-pocket costs of business transformation, job redesign and skills training. This is so enterprises can play a key role in helping workers learn and apply new skills.

Heng said that the enterprise credit will benefit over 35,000 enterprises, most of which will be SMEs.

He also announced the expansion of the Productivity Solutions Grant, which supports enterprises to adopt pre-approved digital solutions and equipment.

This grant will now include job redesign consultancy services, in order to provide more support for job redesign.

The government will also work with large anchor enterprises, which are supported by many SMEs, to support training for their sectors and value chain partners.

The government aims to partner up to 40 of such anchor enterprises to benefit 4,000 SMEs over the next five years.

Doubling the capacity of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes by 2025

Heng also announced the expansion of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes, which allow local students to learn in a real work setting.

According to Heng, the capacity of these programmes will more than double by 2025, and the aim is to make this a mainstream pathway, with 12 per cent of each cohort going through these pathways, up from 3.5 per cent today.

MOE will also expand the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE) to two more Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) over the next few years, in order to deepen workplace learning capabilities and to benefit over 1,200 enterprises.

The first NACE was launched at Nanyang Polytechnic in July 2018.

New SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package for Singaporeans between 40 to 60

In order to help Singaporeans in their 40s and 50s to stay employable and move to new jobs, Heng introduced a new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package.

As part of this new initiative, the government aims to double the annual job placement of locals in their 40s and 50s to around 5,500, by the year 2025.

To achieve this, said Heng, the government will increase the capacity of reskilling programmes, including the Professional Conversion Programme under the Adapt and Grow initiative and career transition programmes delivered by Continuing Education and Training Centres.

Other examples include CET Centres, like IHLs, and sector-specific programmes like the TechSkills Accelerator Company-Led Training for ICT jobs.

Heng said that employers must play their part by stepping up to recruit, retain and retrain local mid-career workers.

In order to support them, the government will provide a hiring incentive to employers who hire local job seekers aged 40 and above through a reskilling programme.

For each eligible worker, the government will provide 20 per cent salary support to the employer for six months, capped at S$6,000 in total.

To improve access to such reskilling programmes, the government will also provide a special SkillsFuture Credit top-up of S$500 to every Singaporean aged 40 to 60 in 2020, which is separate from the earlier top-up announced for all Singaporeans aged 25 and above.

Similar to the previously announced top-up, this additional credit will expire in about five years.

Top image from SEC.