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New SkillsFuture portal to guide S’poreans from young till adulthood

Today, Singapore, 29 October 2017 - Students as young as 11 all the way to adults can now use a new one-stop SkillsFuture portal, aimed at helping Singaporeans chart their learning and plan their career paths.

The portal, called MySkillsFuture, melds the education and career guidance portal previously catering to Primary 5 students up to junior college students, and an Individual Learning portal piloted for workers in 2014.

Officially launched on Sunday (Oct 29) by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, MySkillsFuture gives students an early glimpse into the different sectors to help them decide what they want to do later on. For example, there are six mini virtual games where they interact with virtual characters from different industries and job roles.

A primary school student can also use a feature called Education Guide, which compares various secondary schools and gives information such as the subjects and co-curricular activities being offered.

Through the portal, students can receive career guidance even after they move on to secondary and post-secondary institutions, all the way till they became a working adult.

On top of information on over 1,000 job roles in 30 industries, students can also receive guidance on their education plans.

For Temasek Junior College year-one student Dakshitaa Babu, the new portal allows her to compare the various local universities and the type of courses they offer. She said that students “who are at a loss on what they want to do with their lives” can use it to get guidance every step of the way.

Government agency SkillsFuture Singapore said that back then, the Individual Learning portal was used as a testbed to assess features that appeal to Singaporeans and whether there would be a demand for such a portal.

Based on feedback collated, new features such as a self-assessment tool that allow users to find out what their career interests and skills are were added to MySkillSfuture. According to SSG, there are now about 150,000 users since MySkillsFuture went live on Oct 2.

Users can access a suite of online services such as the National Jobs Bank, a move that makes it more convenient for users to get all the various resources they need through one portal instead of having multiple accounts at different sites.

Singaporeans, who already have accounts with the National Jobs Bank or SkillsFuture Credit, do not have to sign up for a new MySkillsFuture account. They can still access the new portal using login details of those other accounts.

There is a feature called industry insights, where users can find out more information about a specific industry such as whether it has a positive outlook, before they dive into it.

Apart from job matching with openings listed on the jobs back, other services integrated into the new portal that cater to working adults include Training Exchange – allowing them to search and compare courses to suit their needs.

Beyond students and workers, employers can also use the new portal to identify suitable courses that their employees can undergo by accessing Training Exchange, while training providers can beef up their industry knowledge through Industry Insights.

On top of the new portal, another initiative called the SkillsFuture Advice for Individuals was also launched with the aim of helping Singaporeans understand the various SkillsFuture initiatives such as SkillsFuture Credit and how to use the new portal.

Free of charge and lasting for about one and a half hours, the workshops are conducted in English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil at venues such as community centres.

Piloted in July this year, about 1,000 Singaporeans have attended the workshops, with the figure to be ramped up to 80,000 people over the next three years.

Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung, who attended the launch event on Sunday, told reporters that changes from digital disruption affecting traditional business models and jobs may be “disconcerting” for workers.

The latest SkillsFuture push aims to help workers adapt to the disruptions coming their way. Mr Ong said: “What we want to do is to provide the right support for workers to be able to access all these training and advice, portal and information, so that they can navigate and bring their confidence level up and their competence level up.”

Earlier in October, a new national programme – called SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace – was rolled out to prepare Singaporeans for the digital economy.

And on Saturday, the SkillsFuture Series courses was announced, in which working adults can sign up for over 400 courses that focus on eight sectors of growth where skills are in demand.

With the Ministry of Education (MOE) beefing up the number of short courses to deepen workers’ skills, the institutes of higher learning including polytechnics and universities will take the lead in delivering the courses.

This is a marked shift from the current setup of SkillsFuture courses, which are mostly provided by private training firms. Although institutes of higher learning will take on the lion’s share of the courses under the new SkillsFuture Series, Mr Ong said on Sunday that private providers will still have a key role since they have vast experience in training adult learners.

By roping in institutes of higher learning, workers would benefit from having more training options.

“We asked ourselves, is it better for workers that ‘I have all these choices and all these channels of help that I can go to?’”, said Mr Ong. “If the answer is ‘yes’, then I think we have the responsibility to bring in the institutes of higher learning into the system – not for them to compete with each other – but for them to work together to outreach to as many residents as they can.”


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