SkillsFuture: The New National Movement?

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Singapore has since its independence, come up with numerous national campaigns and movements. Remember Singa the Lion which was the face of the Courtesy Campaign in the 80s and 90s? How about the cleanliness movement which made us clean and green?

Over the years, campaigns and movements have helped change mindsets and brought Singapore to where we are today. Some more successful than others.

skills training

Recently, a new buzzword has hit Singapore and many organisations and citizens have been talking about it – SkillsFuture.

Like a new national movement, the Government seems like it’s going all out to get our workers to upgrade their skills.

Unlike other countries who are blessed with natural resources, Singapore has always relied on its manpower as its only form of resource. So when the prospect of workers’ skills becoming obsolete looms on the horizon, the government introduces the new movement to help tide all of us – you and me – through the tidal wave of change.

And like other movements, SkillsFuture impacts people from all walks of life. Students, workers, managers, and perhaps even workers reaching retirement.

Robot Integration

With technology advancement hitting the world all over, more and more of our jobs seem to be taken over by automation and robots. This is when workers will lose their jobs. I recently chanced upon some research findings which estimated how technology will affect the job market in 20 years. Jobs like bookkeepers, paralegals and legal assistants have an above 90% chance of being automated.

Today, more and more of our workers lose their jobs because of two reasons, 1) big companies are relocating their businesses elsewhere, and 2) jobs being replaced by technology.

Hence, for those in the workforce, the need to upskill (upgrade their skill), re-skill (refresh their skill) and second-skill (take on another skill) is needed now, more than ever, to keep our jobs and remain employable. This would be one of the key pillars of SkillsFuture.

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But for tertiary students entering the workforce, especially those from polytechnics and ITEs, the Earn and Learn Programme helps to give them a head start in their careers.

The Earn and Learn programme is a structured 12 to 18-month on-the-job training stint culminating in an industry-recognised certification, which could take the form of an Advanced or Specialist Diploma.

For these programmes to work, our people – you and me – need to support the new national movement and jump on the bandwagon to adapt our skills for the future!

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Arthur Lee

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