The current unprecedented pandemic has got all of us living in uncertainty and fear of an impending recession threatening to disrupt our life. While it is undeniable that the ongoing pandemic has played a large part in reducing wages and employment, individuals that did not make continuous and conscious effort to improve their skillset risk being replaced by the disruptive market forces.
Fortunately for us Singaporeans, the government has introduced various initiatives aimed to help at-risk and affected workers to future proof themselves. These include the $500 SkillsFuture Credit top up and the $10,000 SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit targeted at businesses to further train their current staff.
With no end in sight for the world at the moment, it would be prudent for everyone who has the capacity to undergo some useful upskilling that will add value to their resume and experience in order to tide through these grueling times. This will help them to find new jobs; be it a part time job or a full time one. Despite saying this, some of us might be under the pressure to make ends meet and cannot apply for training programs that otherwise cost a bomb to attend. If you happen to be one of them or know anyone who falls under this category, read on for four-course programs that come with training allowances.
SGUnited Skills (SGUS program)
Trainees enrolled in this program get an allowance of $1,200 monthly to defray living expenses. Beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Support Grant or Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme will be subjected to a lower training allowance.
This program is aimed to help Singaporeans and PRs who are regrettably retrenched due to the ongoing pandemic. It will retrain the participants with updated and industry-relevant skills which allows them to have better employment prospects. Career advice and employment assistance will be provided to the trainees to help them secure a new job via workplace immersion and industry projects.
Enrolment begins from July 2020 and courses conducted by Continuing Education Training Centres which includes local universities, polytechnics and ITEs will be offered to the trainees. Each course is full-time and will span from 6 to 12 months. Trainees who manage to secure a job placement are allowed to drop out of the course but this does not mean that the course will guarantee a job for its participating trainees.
Fees for this program have been subsidized and cost a mere $500 for a 6-month program and $1000 for a 12-month program. Interested participants can also utilize their SkillsFuture credit to offset the fees incurred. The list of courses available can be accessed on myskillsfuture.sg
The Institute of Banking and Finance
This program is specifically for those interested in a career in the fintech and/or finance industries. Similar to other programs on this list, participants get to receive an allowance of $10 per hour while gaining useful insight and training.
Those interested should head over to check out courses accredited under the Skills Framework for Financial Services in the SkillsFuture website as the Institute of Banking and Finance Standards Training Scheme provides subsidies up to 95% of the course fees.
There is a catch to this though. Interested individuals have to pay for the remaining course fees and the total training allowance will be dependent on the total number of hours needed to complete the course. Hence, the training allowance may differ from course to course. Furthermore, the allowance is only obtained after completion of the course. Nonetheless, money is money—and good money at that.
Any Singaporean or PR physically based in Singapore are qualified for the program. A note is that courses have completed by 31 March 2021.
NTUC Training Fund for Self-employed Persons
Designed for the self-employed, this program allows for upskilling and an allowance of up to $11 an hour.
For non-NTUC union members, they are entitled to a training allowance of $10 per hour. New NTUC union members that join after 1 March this year get $10.50 and those who joined before 1 March get the full $11 per hour.
Available courses range from arts, fitness, events and entertainment, tourism, and more. General courses that are tailored for entrepreneurs, marketers, and service professionals are also available. In addition, some of the courses are eligible for fee subsidy and use of SkillsFuture Credit, so do keep an eye out for those.
To qualify, one needs to have at least one of the following three: Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (SIRS) Auto-Eligibility Letter from CPF Board, or SIRS successful application Letter or email from NTUC, or a Letter of Eligibility from NTUC’s e2i. You can read up more on the courses as the information will be updated from time to time with new courses.
Workfare Training Support Scheme (WTS)
The WTS will be rebranded as Workfare Skills Support (WSS) from 1 July 2020 onwards. However, the WSS will technically serve the same purpose to help Singaporeans of ages 25 and above and earn less than $2,000 monthly. This also applies to persons with disabilities who earn not more than $2,000 monthly once they turn 13.
The courses are subsidized up to 95% and come with an allowance of $6 per hour so as long as the training is related to their profession and on the basis of course completion. The courses available range from all the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications courses, Certifiable Skills Training Courses officially recognized SkillsFuture Singapore, and several endorsed Academic Continuing Education and Training courses by ITEs and polytechnics.
Another tip is that there is also a Training Commitment Award which is technically another $400 cash bonus up for grabs so it is perfect for those looking to expand their scope of skills by attending more courses. You may have to contact relevant Workforce Singapore stakeholders for the criteria and eligibility of this award.
As the saying goes, ‘tough times never last but tough man do’. Sure we might be living in an era of uncertainty for now, but all things pass with time. Do not stress over what you cannot control, but what you can instead. That includes constantly seeking to improve yourself—your attitude, outlook, and skills, which are yours to keep for a lifetime.