SkillsFuture Singapore offers midcareer training opportunities for residents seeking to work in the tech industry. Paypal, Microsoft, Siemens and other large corporations partner with the programme to upskill the nation. 

Operating since 2014, the SkillsFuture programme in Singapore was introduced by the government to reskill citizens for tech jobs in response to the nation’s declining birthrate. The retraining programme partners with PayPal, Microsoft, Siemens, and other multinational corporations to open midcareer training opportunities to residents.

SkillsFuture provides credits to people in Singapore over the age of 25 to study from 24,000 courses of specialised topics such as digital technology or business management.

In 2021, Singapore’s overall population declined for the second year in a row for the first time in the history of the nation. Foreign talent has also decreased by 10%, primarily due to region’s tight pandemic restrictions. To continue to bolster the nation’s workforce and increase productivity, it is now retraining its existing population, including middle-aged and elderly people.

Gangadevi Balakrishnan, a software engineer at PayPal, was able to achieve this position through SkillsFuture and is seeking to acquire more new skills through the programme, shared “I am personally interested in security and artificial intelligence. Therefore, I will be looking into programs and courses related to these areas.”

Spurred by the ongoing pandemic, many have sought to reassess their career options and reskill to open new opportunities. With the retraining credits received at SkillsFuture, citizens can take part in partnership programmes with local and international businesses that will enable them to develop specific skills for their career goals.

In 2021, 660,000 people benefited from the programme, almost a quarter of Singapore’s working population. The nation’s per capita labour productivity being US$170,000 in 2020, it increased annually at an average of 3% since 2015.

Other advanced societies such as Japan also are facing declining populations and a shortage of labour which are slowing economic growth. Luxembourg, who was also facing these issues, introduced a policy reform supporting advanced skills education adding digital technology to elementary and secondary school curriculums. Digitalisation and consequent retraining and support programmes will be fundamental for boosting the skills of existing populations to continue to support national productivity.

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