Singapore unveils $4,000 SkillsFuture Credit top-up to help mid-career workers

Government to extend subsidies for employees to pursue another diploma

Singapore unveils $4,000 SkillsFuture Credit top-up to help mid-career workers

Singaporeans aged 40 and above will receive a $4,000 top-up in their SkillsFuture Credit as part of a string of measures announced by the government to help the workforce upskill and reskill.

Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday said in his Budget 2024 speech that the top-up will be available in May this year.

Singapore's SkillsFuture Credit is an initiative launched in 2015 that grants all Singaporeans aged 25 and above a one-off $500 to help them reskill and upskill.

Wong, who is also Singapore's finance minister, said the upcoming $4,000 top-in for Singaporeans will be "more targeted in scope."

"We will confine its usage to selected training programmes with better employability outcomes," he said. "This includes part-time and full-time diploma, post diploma, undergraduate programmes, as well as courses for the progressive wage model sectors."

"And that's because we want participants taking up these programs to be assured of better employment outcomes after they have completed their training."

Diploma subsidy

Meanwhile, Singaporeans aged 40 and above will also be granted subsidies to pursue another full-time diploma at polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education, and arts institutions starting academic year 2025 onwards.

"In other words, we will give every Singaporean another bite of the education subsidy," Wong said. "Even after you have graduated from an institution of higher learning as a younger person, you can come back again after you turn 40 to do a full-time diploma and it will be at subsidized rates."

The government also plans to extend a monthly training allowance to Singaporeans aged 40 and above who will enrol in selected full-time courses.

The allowance will be equivalent to 50% of their average income over the last available 12 month period and will be capped at $3,000 monthly.

Upskilling, reskilling Singaporeans

Wong announced the initiatives as he pointed out how Singaporeans aged 40 and above find it difficult to take time off work due to their financial and caregiving obligations.

The new programmes also came as Singaporeans express strong intentions to upskill amid fears that they could get left behind as artificial intelligence becomes more adopted in workplaces.

Businesses were also previously calling on the government to help Singaporeans upskill in the wake of technological advancement.

"There is a powerful relationship between enabling people to do their best work and national competitiveness, and that's why this year's budget should prioritise helping businesses and learning institutions to equip Singapore's workers with the skills they need to be successful now and in the future," said Mao Gen Foo, Head of Southeast Asia at Qualtrics, as quoted by the Singapore Business Review.

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