Spoilt for choice
Throughout January 2016, Singaporeans aged 25 years and above have been receiving activation letters for their SkillsFuture credit, with letters continuing to be sent in batches.
They will also have been given a step-by-step guide booklet on how to utilise their SkillsFuture credit that will provide access to courses that begin on or after January 1.
The initial credit allocation of $500 can be used on around 10,000 approved skills-related courses, across 57 functional areas encompassing all the key sectors.
Amid the plethora of courses available include those from the Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS).
Christina Ho, Head, Executive Development Services, MIS, says 95% of the courses offered at MIS are eligible for SkillsFuture credits.
“These courses are open for public enrolment and are largely targeted at professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs),” she explains.
Ho says past statistics have increasingly shown that PMETs tend to be more vulnerable in terms of employability during times of economic slowdown.
“This SkillsFuture initiative provides timely support for PMETs to keep themselves updated with relevant skillsets,” she states.
Likewise, John Lim, Head of Continuing Professional Education at the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), reveals the SkillsFuture Credit can be used to defray the fees of approved courses, including those conducted by ISCA.
Another organisation looking to get its course certified for SkillsFuture is Executive Coach International (ECI).
“Currently, ECI is undergoing the application process for our coach training course. Currently, the course is accredited with the International Coach Federation and we look forward to meeting the high standards required by the government.” says Kelvin Lim, Founder of ECI.
Lim believes ECI can contribute to the SkillsFuture initiative by getting its coach training course to be approved.
He says his organisation will ensure that those looking to become professional coaches will be able to enjoy the thorough training it provides. “Additionally, we are exploring the option of developing shorter online courses that will enable people to get a first glimpse into the world of professional coaching,” explains Lim.
“Yet, we are committed to ensuring that these skills are directly relevant to the improvement of their careers.”
Ho says there are over 100 MIS courses available under the programme. These cover disciplines including sales, marketing, leadership, personal effectiveness, business management, communications, event management and service excellence.
“Participants are definitely spoilt for choices. We have experienced an increase in signups since the launch of SkillsFuture, specifically for our digital marketing and communication related courses,” says Ho.
“Our courses are constantly updated with new topics and the latest insights on business trends. Through such rigorous approach in course design, we aim to bring value and quality to our participants who have chosen to pursue their learning with us.”
Lim says the training and professional development division of the ISCA focuses on meeting the training needs of accounting and finance professionals.
“Our training courses are developed to ensure subjects remain relevant, fulfil learning needs and aid skills enhancement,” he states.
Being part of the SkillsFuture initiative, Lim explains ISCA has launched an initial 15 courses focusing on soft skills and information communications topics such as critical thinking and analytical skills, assisting in the development of a business plan and business analytics and reporting.
“These courses contain essential elements that one needs in order to meet the demand of skills relevancy in this highly efficient and productive global environment,” he adds.
Deep mastery of expertise
Depending on the proficiency level of the participants, MIS has both foundational and advanced level courses across the various disciplines.
“The advanced level courses provide pathways for participants to deepen their knowledge over time in specific areas relevant to their work. This helps in elevating their expertise and thus, promoting lifelong learning,” she says.
Lim from ECI stresses that the ultimate drive behind the SkillsFuture movement is to allow Singaporeans to expand their skills and be ready for the world to come.
“With the advent of artificial intelligence replacing manual jobs since the turn of the century, Singaporeans have to develop ‘high-end’ skills which are valued in the world,” says Lim.
He says coaching is a communication skillset that permits faster and deeper understanding between people.
“It reduces situations of confusion between individuals and groups, allowing messages to be understood quickly and clearly. This skillset allows one to navigate the rough seas of business negotiation with greater ease. It also allows to soothe potential team conflicts,” he explains.
In addition, Lim says coaching opens participants up to learning, since it creates avenues of exploration.
“This causes the person to see different possibilities and blindspots and hence, appreciate areas of opportunities that they can upgrade themselves in.
“Coaching also brings innate motivations to the surface and creates a willingness to pursue and persist in a better course of action.”
ISCA’s SkillsFuture credit approved courses
- Courses subsidised by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA)
- Courses offered by the Ministry of Education-funded institutions (including autonomous universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education)
- Selected courses at SIM University, Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
- Courses subsidised or supported by other public agencies
Source: SkillsFuture Credit FAQ, Ministry of Manpower