349 Singaporeans have obtained the SkillsFuture Study Awards in recognition of their efforts and continued commitment to skills mastery.

They include individual applicants as well as employees nominated by their employers from across 13 areas of specialisation, ranging from air transport to infocomm technology to social service.

The highest number of awards were offered to those deepening their skills in financial, built environment and internationalisation as their area of specialisation.

The awards were given out by Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister (Higher Education and Skills) at the inaugural SkillsFuture Study Awards Ceremony organised by Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

At the ceremony, he noted that Singaporeans must be on a constant quest for excellence.

He said: "Lost a project to another bidder? Learn from it, and do your best when the opportunity presents itself again. Passed over for a promotion? Understand your strengths and weaknesses better, work on the weaknesses, and leverage the strengths.

"If it is because of a bad boss, then decide whether you ought to leave the company and work for a better employer. Lost an election? Improve yourself, come back 5 years later," he added.

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Each successful applicant will receive a monetary award of $5,000 which they can use to defray out-of-pocket expense associated with their training for skills mastery.

Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of WDA, said: "The strong response we received for the awards and the total number of awards offered are a good indication that both Singaporeans and their employers see value in skills mastery, and that more individuals are taking ownership of their learning and career progression."

To date, 17 sector agencies are offering the SkillsFuture Study Awards. WDA will continue to expand the number of awards available, including the sectors covered by the awards.

Additional awards will be introduced by the end of 2016 in the logistics, tourism, as well as training and adult education sectors. The awards will also be extended to persons with disabilities and disability employment professionals later this year.

Photos from the ceremony:

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