During Singapore’s Budget 2021 speech , Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that over the next three years the government will inject S$24billion into various programs to enable firms to transform and scale, as well as help develop the “skills, creativity and talents” of employees.

Specifically, an additional S$5.4billion will be invested into the existing SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package. While most of it will go into supporting the wages of new hires, the majority will go into training opportunities.

This in line with Singapore’s long-term strategy to reinforce companies’ digital transformation efforts, as well to close the existing skills gap, which has widened due to the pandemic.

“Looking ahead, as companies and industries transform, and new growth areas emerge, our people will need to have the skills and agility to move,” Heng said. “To emerge stronger, our people will need new knowledge and skills.”

Enhanced Training Programs
As for the Singapore government’s efforts to encourage leaders to enable a strong learning culture, they will be extending financial support for the training of workers:

  • SGUnited Mid-career Pathways Program

Company attachment: Extended until March 31, 2022, with maximum training allowance increased to up to $3,800 a month for mature trainees, and up to $1,600 for non-mature employees. Training duration, however, will be reduced from nine to six months from April 1st.

Company training: Also extended until March 31, 2022, a reviewed range of courses will be offered to eligible individuals.

  • SGUnited Skills

This has been extended similar to the mid-career program, with courses made more compact from April 2021 onwards.

The need to upskill and retrain the workforce has become increasingly apparent to businesses and nations across the world, as the pandemic continues to disrupt supply chains and working conditions. Adaptability is now the name of the game.

DPM Heng also noted that the “fundamental changes” taking place in the world of work were only accelerated by the pandemic, and not new by any means. Companies thus need to ensure that employees remain relevant as the landscape transforms, regardless of the industry they’re in.

“A digital, innovation-driven economy means that businesses will need highly skilled workers and deep talent,” he said. “Singaporeans will need to have both broader and deeper skills and creativity.”


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