Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world. The country’s education system benefits not only school-age learners but also working professionals, particularly those who want to improve their career prospects and ensure that their skills will remain relevant to their respective fields.
Lifelong learning is the norm in a country as forward-looking as Singapore. In fact, according to a 2016 survey, 2 out of 3 Singaporeans want to further their education, and nearly half want to attain a postgraduate degree. In part, this is because they want to advance their careers and improve their employability. Meeting this demand is one of the objectives of SkillsFuture, a government-led initiative that aims to provide Singapore citizens and permanent residents (PRs) with opportunities that will empower them to maximise their potential, regardless of their backgrounds.
What Is SkillsFuture?
SkillsFuture is a national programme that’s designed to equip Singaporeans and PRs from all walks of life with the tools that they need to excel in their respective fields and, in their own way, pave the way for a better future for the country. The Singapore government believes that the combined contribution of every individual will enable the country to reach its next level of development, and the Skills Future courses offered by the programme will help ensure that the country’s labour force will be prepared to meet the changing needs of Singapore and the world at large.
Given the opportunity to improve your skillset and skill level, how can you make sure that you will make the most of the SkillsFuture programme? Here are a few tips that you should keep in mind.
Determine What Your Goal Is and What You Must Do to Reach It
First and foremost, it’s important to have an objective in mind. Why are you keen on taking a course in the first place? Do you want to use it to advance your current career path, or are you in the process of shifting to a new career and you’re checking out your options? Where do you see yourself in the next few years, and how can taking a SkillsFuture course help you reach that goal? If you already have a specific objective in mind, it can be much easier to choose courses and schedules that will benefit you in the long run.
Explore Your Course Options, Digital or Otherwise
Humanity is currently living in the information age, and organisations and individuals must keep up with the latest technologies in order to thrive in this era. However, this doesn’t mean that digital courses are your only option when you sign up for a SkillsFuture course. Among the areas of study that learners can focus on are advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, data analytics, digital media, entrepreneurship, finance, tech-enabled services, and urban solutions. Under these general areas of study are over 400 courses that cater to beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. Check out your options and find the choice that is best aligned with your interests and future goals.
Treat Your SkillsFuture Credit Like It’s Your Own Money
The SkillsFuture program is open to Singaporeans and permanent residents alike, and students can use their SkillsFuture Credit to pay for the fees needed to take their courses. In addition to a 70% course fee subsidy for citizens and PRs, students can also be sponsored by their companies. People from different demographics can likewise access a number of additional benefits that will make these courses even more accessible.
Still, it’s important to be selective of the courses that you’re going to take. Even if your education is subsidised, you still need to invest your own time, energy, and money to make the most of this learning opportunity. Also, it’s a smart idea to compare the prices of similar training courses offered by different providers to find the one that will give you the best value for money.
Develop a Personal Learning Plan
Everyone has to start somewhere, and some SkillsFuture courses can be too advanced for beginners or even intermediate learners. As such, there are training providers that require prospective students to fulfil certain criteria before they can sign up for a particular course. Given this condition, it’s important to make a personal learning plan, one where you have clear short- and long-term goals and how you can achieve them. If you’re planning to take a series of courses, for example, you can plot out the progression of the courses you need to take and pass to achieve your goals. If you want to widen your knowledge of a specific field, then it’s a good idea to outline the courses you need to take to develop a deeper understanding of your chosen subject.
Start Advancing Your Skills as Soon as Possible
The SkillsFuture programme is quite new, being only established in 2015. But now is a good time as any to plan how it can help you. Determine when you’re going to start taking courses and attending training sessions so you can have as much time as you need to complete what you started. In addition, keep in mind that your SkillsFuture Credits have an expiration date, and there are programmes that may only be able to accommodate a limited number of students. Before your credits expire, you should have a concrete idea of how to use them.
Check out the SkillsFuture programme as early as possible, and use the opportunity to hone skills that will be highly in demand in the future. At the same time, indulge your love of learning and find courses that will help you maximise your potential as a professional and as a productive member of modern society.