Highlights From The Skillsfuture Forum 2020: Availability Of Jobs Or Skills Upgrading During Trying Times?

The SkillsFuture Forum 2020 has been significantly different from the past years due to the current ongoing pandemic. It is being held both physically and virtually this year but remains a meaningful and memorable event regardless. The central idea this year is about being disaster ready as Mr Ong Ye Kung briefly explained the negative impacts COVID-19 has created on the economy and employment. Retrenchment is one of the biggest problems Singaporean workers face right now, as companies begin to retrench workers in sizeable numbers.

It is in such difficult times that Singapore has to be almost immediately disaster ready. As accurately put by Mr Ong himself, one does not prevent a building from collapsing during a earthquake only when there is an earthquake. Preparation and proper designing have to be done beforehand to be able to withstand the earthquake. He then pointed out 2 notable areas of preparedness Singapore has put in place this COVID-19 season. Firstly would be the cumulation of national reserves that was able to aid workers and companies tide through Circuit Breaker. Secondly would be SkillsFuture, a plan which tackles long-term continuity of Singapore.

Singapore has developed SkillsFuture to become a ‘comprehensive lifelong learning system’ which comprises training centres, programmes and courses. These courses are carefully taken care of by a funding system that aims to subsidise training for companies and individuals as much as possible. Mr Ong also notably mentioned that in peacetime, SkillsFuture is used primarily for skills upgrading and raising the country’s productivity. And in difficult times like this, SkillsFuture has to be used to save jobs and be a helpline for Singaporeans to find new job opportunities.

What Is The SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package About?

One of the key items discussed in the forum this year was definitely the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package under the National Jobs Council (NJC). This package is not just any ordinary package, but rather a Whole-of-Government effort to introduce new employment opportunities, traineeships and training for as many as 100,000 jobseekers. Since the setting up of this new effort, eight SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres have been created. Filled with career counsellors, Singaporeans will be able to receive help in accessing jobs and traineeships opportunities. And guess what! By the end of September, Singapore will be having SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres easily accessible in all 24 Housing and Development Board (HDB) towns!

Moving on, the very first SGUnited Jobs and Skills Fair was also launched on the 3rd of July with more than 16,000 jobs, traineeships and training positions ranging across the public and private sectors of different fields. The NJC also continually aims to hold more career fairs and events to enable Singaporeans greater access and opportunities for jobs! Big yay isn’t it?

What Is The SGUnited Skills (SGUS) Programme About?

Apart from being exposed to jobs, traineeships, and training positions, something meaningful to also consider would be undergoing skills training in this season especially when we are all waiting for the recovery of the economy. The SGUnited Skills (SGUS) Programme does exactly that! Upskilling is important especially in such a competitive job environment, so we must never neglect opportunities to build up new skills and strengthen existing ones.

So exactly how does SGUS work? SGUS courses are basically full-time certifiable programmes which require a commitment over 6 to 12 months. It is conducted by modules and spans from a range of sectors like Infocommunications and Media, Healthcare and Community Care, and more. The courses are conducted by training centres, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and companies to ensure industry relevance. One of the best parts? Trainees will receive a monthly allowance while undergoing their training on top of the course fees being heavily subsidised by the government!

Overall, SGUS is going to be aimed at those who need help and not just finding the youngest, smartest and most talented individuals. Especially because training centres and employers will not have any obligation to hire the trainees at the end of the programme, more vulnerable groups who need help with retooling in this phase of life can be prioritised.

The journey to recovery for all will not be easy, but as a leading private tuition in Singapore, FamilyTutor encourages all of you to see the good in a bad situation and work hard to turn any bad situation into a good learning opportunity. We can do this!

For your information, the ‘Current Affairs’ series covers the latest news and developments in the realm of education, added with a dash of discussion and a sprinkle of opinion!



Zoe is an undergraduate student in Singapore who loves thinking deeply and translating them into writing. She hopes her reflective opinions and sound advice weaved into relevant articles will be useful for you in one way or another!

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