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SG Budget 2024: Singaporeans 40+ to get S$4,000 SkillsFuture top-Up

DPM Lawrence Wong announces a S$4,000 SkillsFuture Credits top-up for Singaporeans aged 40+. He also introduces a financial scheme to aid involuntarily unemployed individuals during training or job searches amid technological shifts.



SINGAPORE: Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced that Singaporeans aged 40 and above will receive a S$4,000 top-up in SkillsFuture Credits this May.

This initiative aims to motivate mid-career professionals to update their skills and advance in their respective fields, said DPM Wong in his Budget speech on Friday (16 February).

In addition to the credit boost, individuals in this age group will also benefit from subsidies to pursue a full-time diploma at polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education, and arts institutions starting from the academic year 2025.

DPM Wong highlighted the significance of this move, emphasizing that it provides every Singaporean, regardless of prior education, another opportunity to avail themselves of educational subsidies.

The S$4,000 credit top-up is part of the newly introduced SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme, characterized by a more targeted scope.

The credits can only be utilized for selected training programs that promise enhanced employability outcomes, such as part-time and full-time diplomas, post-diploma, and undergraduate programs.

“We want participants taking up these programmes to be assured of better employability outcomes after they have completed their training.”

Even younger Singaporeans will benefit from the S$4,000 top-up once they reach the age of 40, and notably, the credits will not have an expiry date.

Furthermore, individuals above the age of 40 enrolling in selected full-time courses from 2025 will receive a monthly training allowance.

This stipend aims to partially offset income loss resulting from taking time off work for training purposes.

Eligible courses include full-time SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme courses and full-time publicly-funded courses at institutes of higher learning and arts institutions, up to the undergraduate degree level.

The training allowance will equate to 50% of one’s average income over the latest 12-month period, capped at S$3,000 per month.

Each person can receive this allowance for up to 24 months throughout their lifetime. However, individuals unemployed for more than a year will not be eligible for the training allowance.

DPM Wong stressed the government’s substantial investment in human capital, emphasizing the necessity for continuous learning beyond formal education.

He acknowledged the high skills and technical proficiency of the Singapore workforce but highlighted the ever-changing landscape of expertise due to rapid technological advancements.

Mr Wong emphasized the necessity for increased investment in assisting workers to update their skills and adeptly navigate emerging technologies.

He underscored the importance of continuous skills upgrading throughout one’s life, acknowledging the ever-evolving landscape of expertise.

He highlighted the significant strides made in this regard since the inception of SkillsFuture nearly a decade ago.

The government’s commitment to continuing education and training is evident in the nearly doubled spending, reaching S$0.9 billion in 2023.

While acknowledging the significant progress made in this area over the past decade, DPM Wong stressed that much more could still be achieved. He reiterated the critical importance of continuous skills upgrading throughout one’s life, especially in today’s rapidly evolving landscape.

The support measures for mid-career workers are designed to assist those in need of a skills refresh, who must navigate the challenge of taking time off work for extended training periods while managing financial and caregiving responsibilities.

Temporary financial support scheme for involuntary unemployment

DPM Wong highlighted additional support for workers facing involuntary unemployment, recognizing the challenges they encounter in adapting to technological changes and economic shifts.

To address this, a temporary financial support scheme will be implemented, aiding individuals during periods of training or job search for better-fitting opportunities.

This initiative responds to the dynamic nature of the economy, where certain sectors may experience layoffs while others create new and improved job prospects.

DPM Wong emphasized the common pressure felt by involuntarily unemployed individuals to hastily accept any available job, even if it is not an ideal fit for their skills and talents.

Acknowledging the ideal scenario of upgrading skills and finding a well-suited job, DPM Wong highlighted the time constraints faced by displaced workers, especially when struggling to meet immediate financial needs.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had previously announced plans for such temporary financial support during the 2023 National Day Rally speech, emphasizing the importance of enabling retrenched workers to attend skills courses instead of hastily accepting unsuitable job offers.

DPM Wong emphasized the careful design of the scheme, taking into consideration the level of support provided and other conditions associated with it.

This meticulous approach aims to avoid pitfalls observed in other countries when implementing unemployment benefits. Further details on the scheme will be disclosed later this year.

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In my view, the idea of pursuing diploma courses at the polytechnics and others is a good move. However, there are several points to note: 1) are these courses already existing or will there be specially created new courses? 2) and if new, will it be recognised? 3) is $4000 really sufficient to pursue a diploma course that provides relevant or new skills for a person to ” upgrade” himself to gain more mobility? 4) a list of approved courses will be presented later. In line with this, what will be the intake per course or class 5) continuing from… Read more »

It started out with $500, when things didn’t work and citizens remain unemployed or underemployed then add on another $500 + $500, when the results turned to be the same now $4000. … Waiting for the same outcome again.

It is obvious they know training is not the problem, unfair hiring and their loose foreign policies are but they just keep on wasting money rather than solving the problem.

You are right. Next they will have to use resources to arrest and prosecute these “greedy,” people. It has already happened with the skills fund during Tharman’s tenure, still want to do the same.

I am not sure who benefitted from this fund! Anyone knows if those went for courses get any jobs or just the training organisers get the money?

Are we just throwing money to the training organisers?

Another Wayang Skill future with No future cos dun guarantee job plus some courses you have to TOP UP …

“Each person can receive this allowance for up to 24 months throughout their lifetime. However, individuals unemployed for more than a year will not be eligible for the training allowance.”

Selective program for selected individuals…

And why unemployed for more than a year not eligible ?!?