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In today’s fast-changing technology world, there is a need for companies and workers to constantly upskill themselves to remain relevant and ahead of their competition.
Yet, while most of us would agree that lifelong upskilling is vital in the working world, there is a presumption that upskilling is an individual responsibility. The expectation is that individual workers have to keep themselves relevant in their industries and attend courses or further studies to equip themselves with the skills and knowledge they need.
This is only half of the story.
While individuals need to be responsible and committed to their own progress (no one can force you to learn if you are not interested), the companies that they work for play an equally important role in their upskilling journey. After all, it’s the companies that will benefit with a higher-skilled workforce – delivering greater productivity, competitive advantages over their peers and future-proofing their organisations.
Think of it as similar to how a good football club would have the best coaches and consultants to help them develop their professional footballers. Even though the club is already paying good wages to attract the best footballers to their team, that’s not enough. Football clubs also find ways to improve the performance of their players because they know that better players will likely deliver better results.
It’s the same logic for any employee in the working world.
How Does SkillsFuture For Enterprise Help Companies?
Most of us would already know about SkillsFuture, an initiative to support Singaporeans in their journey of lifelong learning and professional development. Fewer may know that there is also SkillsFuture for Enterprise a suite of SkillsFuture initiatives to support employers with the skills development of the workforce as the company transforms and grows.
Similar to how we want individuals to embrace lifelong learning, the aim of SkillsFuture for Enterprise is to encourage companies to adopt a culture of lifelong learning, and to help build a more skilled and adaptable workforce. After all, similar to a football club, a company that has more skilled workers is likely to be more productive and deliver greater output as compared to their peers who do not invest in training.
A study from the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI) published in 2021 observed that for every 10% of the local workforce that companies supported for training, labour productivity of firms was 2.2% higher on average per year for two years and that company’s revenue was 0.7% higher on average each year for up to three years after training. Furthermore, employee retention was 0.6% higher as well during the year of training.
Getting Started On Your Company’s SkillsFuture Journey
GoBusiness, a platform for businesses to access government e-services and resources, has a simple guide for companies wishing to embark on their SkillsFuture for Enterprise journey.
Understand the Skill Gaps Your Company Currently Faces
Before companies start sending their workers for training courses, it’s important to identify where are the skill areas they want to improve on.
On the GoBusiness website, there is a compilation of resources that companies can access to help identify their skills needs.
Useful resources that companies can tap into include a Skills Profiling for SMEs service that is powered by JobKred’s Skills Profiling Platform. There is also the Skills Framework that provides industry-specific guidance for companies looking to develop relevant skills in their sectors.
Consider Tapping On Government Subsidies & Funding
After identifying their skills gaps, companies should check their eligibility for subsidies and funding. Through the Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETSS), companies can receive baseline course fee subsidies of up to 90%.
On top of that, companies can also make use of the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (more on this below).
Discuss & Shortlist Suitable Courses and Initiatives For Your Workers
SkillsFuture has a Course Directory that allows companies to choose from an extensive list of courses across many training providers – there were over 11,400 courses listed as of 31 July 2023. You can sort the courses that you are looking for based on filters such as the training providers and the duration of the course. However, with so many courses available, scrolling through all the courses offered can be a laborious process.
A faster method for companies to identify relevant courses based on skill gaps that they may have is to use the e-Adviser for Skills Training available on the GoBusiness website.
Answer a few simple questions about your company and the human resource objectives and challenges that you have.
Provide basic details
Share your business needs
Share any challenges and worries that you have.
Click on recommendations and with your input, the e-Adviser will recommend a list of courses and initiatives tailored to your company’s requirements – cutting out those that are not relevant or that your company is not eligible for.
Note: Some of the selected courses recommended based on our input.
As you shortlist courses that your workers can consider attending, it’s also important to get their buy-in. Involving them in the decision-making process so that they can also play an active role in deciding which courses they are keen to attend.
Remember To Claim Absentee Payroll
Your workers will likely need time away from work to attend these skills training courses. As a company, we can encourage workers to attend these courses during work hours without having to worry about their workload. Companies can also use the Absentee Payroll Funding to help defray some of the manpower costs incurred when their workers attend SkillsFuture-funded training. This will be a flat rate fixed at $4.50 per hour capped at $100,000 per year for each company.
How SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit Helps Singapore SMEs Upskill Their Workers
While it’s easy for all of us to agree that upskilling as a company is important, there could be reasons that inhibit us from doing so.
One such reason could be cost. A company may be reluctant to sign employees up for a course even if they think it could be useful because they feel it’s too expensive and are unsure if the potential benefits from the course will be worth its cost.
To help encourage Singapore companies overcome this hurdle, the government introduced the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC).
This programme provides eligible companies with a one-off credit of $10,000 that can be used to offset up to 90% of out-of-pocket expenses when they take up relevant initiatives for enterprise and/or workforce transformation. This amount is on top of the support levels that are already provided by existing schemes such as the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG).
Broadly speaking, the SFEC supports programmes under two categories – Enterprise Transformation and Workforce Transformation. While Enterprise Transformation would likely be initiated by adopting technology as determined by management, Workforce Transformation is where both employers and employees have to play equal parts to achieve the ideal outcome. Of the $10,000 credit, $3,000 is ringfenced for workforce transformation only, while the remaining $7,000 can be used for both enterprise and workforce transformation.
In many ways, the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit isn’t that different from the SkillsFuture Credit that most of us are already familiar with. The key difference is that while SkillsFuture Credit are for individuals to choose courses that are relevant and of interest to them, SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit goes to companies with the aim of helping them upskill their workers.
By paying for these courses and giving employees the time to go for these courses, companies themselves are ultimately the beneficiaries of these new skills that their workers picked up. These could be in the form of using these newly acquired skills in their work, and/or by sharing their knowledge with other colleagues in the company.
Beyond just the skills that are learned, such upskilling opportunities can also motivate workers as they serve as an indication that the company values them and want to invest in their growth.
Check Your Eligibility On The Business Grants Portal
If this is your first time reading about the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit and you want to know if your company is eligible for it. Here’s how to find out.
Go to the Business Grants Portal that you can access from the GoBusiness website. If you are one of the registered Corppass administrators for your company, you would be able to login using your Singpass.
If your company is eligible, you should see a notification when you log in to the Business Grants Portal. It will show if your company is eligible for the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit (SFEC) and the remaining credit to-date that you have.
Find out more about the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credit on the GoBusiness website.
Need More Resources? Check Out The Enterprise Portal For Jobs and Skills
Whether it’s SkillsFuture courses or other resources to upskill your workforce, you can find the information you need on the Enterprise Portal For Jobs and Skills that is also on the GoBusiness website.
On the site, you can find initiatives that can guide your company in developing your workforce, search for training programmes for your workers, and different useful resources and tools that can help in transforming your company and its people to be more progressive as you take on the future.
If you are a business owner or someone who is in charge of skills development at your organisation, do sign up for the GoBusiness mailing list so that you can stay up to date with the latest initiatives and schemes that are introduced to support companies in Singapore.