Budget 2024: Indranee explains why new SkillsFuture programme focuses on diplomas, not degrees

Budget 2024: Indranee explains why new SkillsFuture programme focuses on diplomas, not degrees
PHOTO: Facebook/Indranee Rajah

To encourage?mid-career workers?to upskill and reskill, Singapore will roll out a?new SkillsFuture programme in May.

Singaporeans aged 40 and above will get a $4,000 top-up in?SkillsFuture credits,?subsidies for another full-time diploma, and training allowances for selected full-time courses.

But why the focus on diplomas instead of degrees?

Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, explained why on?CNA938's Asia First?on Monday (Feb 19).

"The degree or university pathway is usually more academic in nature, but diplomas - by their nature and their character - are skills-based," she explained.

"Going forward, as you look to the next chapter, skills are going to become really important because don't forget, you've already got all the foundation that the degree and the first diploma gave you.

"What you're trying to do now is you're trying to add to that," she said.

Indranee was addressing questions on?the new SkillsFuture Level-Up programme that Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong announced during Budget 2024 last Friday (Feb 16).

Come May, Singaporeans aged 40 and above will receive a $4,000 SkillsFuture credit top-up that can only be used for selected training programmes with better employability outcomes.

They include part-time and full-time diplomas, post-diplomas and undergraduate programmes as well as Progressive Wage Model sectors.

Those under the age requirement will also get the same amount of credits when they hit 40.

Should mid-career workers?want to pursue another full-time diploma in the 2025 academic year, the government will also subsidise their costs, DPM Wong said.

Those enrolling in selected full-time courses?will also get monthly training allowances.

The amount will be?equivalent to half of their personal average income over the latest available 12-month period, up to $3,000 per month. Every person can receive up to 24 months of training allowance throughout their lifetime, he added.

Layers of learnedness

The new SkillsFuture?programme will help those intending to "contribute in a different way".

For example, mid-career workers switching tracks,?such as becoming a social worker or life coach, will not need another degree.

"You don't need another degree for that, but you may find diplomas that touch on the topics that you're interested in helpful,"?Indranee explained.

"So see it sort of as a layering, it's not that what you learned before doesn't matter anymore - you're adding to that".

In order to help workers make informed decisions on the path they would like to pursue, Indranee said that the government ought to help.

"I don't think the government should dictate to people what they should do," she said.?

"But what the government can do is identify the growth areas… and we should put up as much information as possible so people can make the choices that feel best for them."?

ALSO READ:?Job hunting? SkillsFuture report highlights 24 in-demand skills over the next 2 years

khooyihang@asiaone.com

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