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Championing Lifelong Learning: How Budget 2024 Supports Singaporeans To Upskill And Develop Their Full Potential

Ensuring we have a lifetime of opportunities.

This article was written in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MOF). All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of based on our research. is not liable for any financial losses that may arise from any transactions and readers are encouraged to do their own due diligence. You can view our full editorial policy here.

As Singaporeans, we grow up learning that people are our most precious resource. That is why adopting a culture of lifelong learning is key for Singapore to remain a prosperous home for future generations.

From the Budget 2024 speech delivered by DPM and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong, we learnt how Singaporeans can work towards achieving their full potential, and how the government will continue to support our lifelong learning journey.

Read Also: Singapore Budget 2024: 24 Things That Will Impact Singaporeans Financially

ITE Progression Award: Encouraging Young Singaporeans To Upskill Themselves

While the real median gross monthly starting salary of graduates has increased over the past decade, there is a growing gap in the starting salaries of ITE graduates compared to polytechnic and autonomous university graduates.

Real gross median salary of graduates (ITE, Poly and university)

Source: MOE

To narrow this income gap, and to encourage younger ITE graduates to upgrade their skills earlier in their career, the government has introduced a new ITE Progression Award.

Singaporean ITE graduates, aged 30 and below, can look forward to a $5,000 top-up in their Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) when they enrol into a diploma programme. This will help to offset some of the costs of obtaining a diploma.

Once they graduate, they will receive a further $10,000 top-up to their CPF Ordinary Account (OA). As taking on a diploma requires both financial and time commitment, the OA top-up will give the graduates a boost in purchasing a home or saving for their retirement.

Supporting Mid-Career Workers To Reskill & Remain Relevant In The Workforce

Skills rarely go from being up-to-date one day to irrelevant the next. Rather, it is a gradual process – with your skillsets slowly becoming outdated in the working world or your entire industry on the sunset.

But mid-career workers, who have been out of school for a longer period of time, are at greater risk of skills obsolescence. To better support mid-career workers, the government introduced the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme.

From 1 May 2024, Singaporeans aged 40 and above can expect a $4,000 SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career) top-up. This top-up is meant to be more targeted than previous tranches of SkillsFuture top-ups, with usage confined to selected training programmes with improved employability outcomes. For example, it can be used to offset out-of-pocket course fees when enrolling into around 7,000 part-time and full-time diploma, post-diploma, undergraduate programmes, and courses for the Progressive Wage Model sectors.

Younger Singaporeans can also look forward to this $4,000 SkillsFuture top-up once they turn 40. To further defray the cost of reskilling, those aged 40 and above who pursue another full-time diploma at Polytechnics, ITE, and Arts Institutions, from Academic Year 2025 onwards will be eligible for subsidised fees.

So, on top of the existing Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy, where a mid-career worker can reduce his potential course fees by up to 90%, he can also use his $4,000 SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career) top-up to offset partially, or all, of the remaining 10% out-of-pocket expenses.

SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme

Source: SkillsFuture

Often, trying to reskill requires careful consideration as it spans many months. This will be supported through a monthly training allowance, equivalent to 50% of the individual’s average income over the latest available 12-month period. The allowance is capped at $3,000 a month.

Each individual can claim the training allowance for up to 24 months. This support will cover the length of a SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme, and more than half the duration of most qualifications issued by our Institutes of Higher Learning.

Read Also: Upskilling Isn’t Just An Individual Responsibility. How SkillsFuture For Enterprise on GoBusiness Can Help SMEs Transform Their Workforce

Protecting Workers At Their Most Vulnerable

A support scheme for the involuntarily unemployed was also mooted during Budget 2024. While losing a job can be a major setback in life, it does not have to define the trajectory of an employee’s career.

A temporary financial support scheme for those involuntarily unemployed, while they undergo training or look for better-fitting jobs, will be introduced – details will be shared later in 2024.

Potentially, such employees may also be able to benefit from reskilling themselves through the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme – while receiving up to 50% of their previous salary.

Giving Lower-Wage Workers A Leg Up

Singapore must be an economy that provides opportunities for all; that benefits the many rather than the few. The government is thus focused on uplifting lower-wage workers.

More support will be provided to employers who raise salaries for their lower-wage workers through the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS). Introduced in 2022, the PWCS provides transitional support to employers for mandatory wage increases under the Local Qualifying Salary (LQS) and Progressive Wage Model (PWM), as well as voluntary wage increments for lower-wage workers.

In 2024, the government will increase its support by co-funding up to a maximum of 50% of the increments for those earning less than $2,500, and a maximum of 30% of the increments for those earning between $2,500 and $3,000.

Next year, the government will raise the wage ceiling from $2,500 to $3,000, and there will only be a single wage ceiling tier of $3,000 for 2025 and 2026. The government will be co-funding 30% and 15% of the wage increments in 2025 and 2026 respectively.

Progressive Wage Credit Scheme (PWCS)

Source: IRAS

Finally, the government has also committed to raise Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme payouts for lower-wage workers.

As announced in Budget 2024, the qualifying monthly wage cap for workers to receive WIS payouts will be raised from $2,500 to $3,000 from January 2025. The maximum payout per year will also be raised from $4,200 to $4,900 from January 2025.

Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme

Source: CPF

Read Also: Guide To Workfare Income Supplement Scheme And How Much Those Who Are Eligible Will Receive

Instilling A Habit Of Lifelong Learning; Yielding A Lifetime Of Opportunities

If we’ve learned anything as Singaporeans, it’s that change is the only constant. Lifelong learning will not only give Singaporeans an advantage; but is vital for Singapore to continue punching above its weight in the global marketplace.

That’s why the Government’s investment in SkillsFuture is key. Workers will be in the driving seat to overcome new challenges that we choose to face and, ultimately, unlock our full potential.

While we await the roll-out of the SkillsFuture Credit (mid-career) top-up in May, we can start considering what we need to learn to become better versions of ourselves today.