The government of Singapore is providing credit incentives to individuals and enterprises to enhance skills development.
Information and communications technology, food and beverage, and productivity and innovation are the top three training fields where the Singaporean workers -- aged 25 and older -- utilised their Singapore dollar (SGD) 500 SkillsFuture Credit for training courses, The Straits Times reported.
More than half a million Singaporeans have used their SkillsFuture Credit since 2016, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said.
Also, mid-career workers in their 40s and 50s will receive SGD 1,000 in SkillsFuture Credit this year to help this group of locals stay employable and move to new jobs or new roles.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced this in the budget speech on February 18, as part of a new SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package, The Straits Times reported.
This comprises a top-up of SGD 500 that will be given to all Singaporeans aged 25 and older, and an additional top-up of SGD 500 specifically for those aged 40 to 60 as of December 31 this year.
Heng Swee Keat said the government aims to double the annual job placement of locals in their 40s and 50s to around 5,500 by 2025.
"We hope that all these initiatives will provide meaningful support to those in their 40s and 50s to further their careers with confidence," he said.
Last year, around 500,000 individuals and 14,000 enterprises took part in SkillsFuture programmes, SSG said in its annual report.
"The vast majority of those who participate in SSG-funded training reported good outcomes," said SSG CEO Ong Tze-Ch'in.
More than 54,000 attended SkillsFuture workshops last year to learn how to plan their training needs, compared with about 46,000 people in 2018.
Many students from the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and autonomous universities also took up SkillsFuture work-study programmes, SSG said.
The original SGD 500 in credit that was provided in 2016 will continue to have no expiry if it has not been used.
The additional credit can be used from October 1 this year and will expire on December 31, 2025, in order to encourage people to take early action.
The funds for older workers can be used for about 200 career transition programmes offered by continuing education and training (CET) centres, The Straits Times reported.
Other schemes which will have greater capacity include career transition programmes delivered by CET centres and sector-specific programmes.
The government will also provide 20% salary support to employers who hire local jobseekers aged 40 and above through professional conversion programmes, place-and-train programmes for rank-and-file workers, and career transition programmes by CET centres.
The six-month hiring incentive of total SGD 6,000, however, does not apply to employers who are already claiming salary support for their workers under the Career Support Programme or P-Max scheme.
The workers will also receive peer support and career guidance from a group of volunteer career advisers from professional communities.
The government will streamline its manpower schemes to maximise their impact, the deputy prime minister added.