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New fund created to help Singaporeans hone their skills

A new fund has been put together to help local Singaporeans hone their workplace skills to ensure they remain relevant in their respective industries.

The Skills Future Jubilee Fund, which has a target of $30 million, aims to help Singaporeans manage ever-changing skills in a shifting job market, backed by the SkillsFuture Council to spearhead building "a future based on the mastery of skills".

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the creation of this fund this week, saying it will be used to give study awards to those keen on pursuing new skills or mastering existing ones.

"Keeping our economy competitive and creating opportunities for our workers to do well is a national effort. I am confident that if we continue to work together, businesses will prosper and workers will see their incomes rise," he said, Channel NewsAsia reported.

In Parliament this week, Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin also mentioned the efforts of the fund when questioned about how the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) would ensure new industries and jobs identified for Singapore's growth are aligned with clear career pathways for workers.

Outside of the ongoing work being conducted with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the economic agencies, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), and the Ministry of Education (MOE) to support each sector’s manpower needs, Tan said the government will establish a new tripartite SkillsFuture Council to build skills. 

"The Council will oversee efforts to develop an integrated, industry-responsive and future oriented system of education and lifelong learning," he said, adding that as part of the next phase of developing our CET system, the council will work with employers, unions and training providers to help individuals make informed career choices.

"To account for sector-specific skill and manpower needs, the SkillsFuture Council will also adopt a sectoral approach to identifying existing skill gaps and anticipating the future skills that Singaporean workers will need given advancements in technology and new business models.

"This will inform the development of the education and training system to ensure that individuals are equipped with the required skills to take on and progress in quality jobs."

In order to meet the fund's target of $30m, the government is hoping to attract donations from employers and unions, which they will match dollar for dollar.

The fund has already received a generous donation of $5 million by Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman and CEO of Ho Bee Land.

The council was established in September and is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

Image: Shutterstock

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