Wednesday 5 November 2014

New S$30 million SkillsFuture Jubilee Fund will help Singaporeans master skills

By Nicole Tan, Channel NewsAsia, 3 Nov 2014

A new fund has been created to help Singaporeans master skills for the future, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Monday (Nov 3).

The SkillsFuture Jubilee Fund will be used for study awards for those who wish to pursue mastery of their craft. The focus will be on those already in the workforce, and will be aimed at encouraging mastery in every skill and industry, Mr Lee said.

He said he hoped to attract donations from employers and unions, which the Government will match dollar-for-dollar. The fund has a target of S$30 million.

Speaking at the inauguration of The Metropolis, where he announced a S$5 million donation to the fund by Ho Bee Land chairman Chua Thian Poh, Mr Lee said the fund will get the SkillsFuture Council’s efforts to a “strong start”.

The council, established in September and chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, will develop an integrated system of education, training and progression for all Singaporeans. It will also look at ways to promote industry support and social recognition for individuals to advance based on their skills.

"The fund will be used for study awards for those who wish to pursue mastery, and focus on those already in the workforce, and aim at encouraging mastery in every skill and every industry," he said. "Keeping our economy competitive and creating opportunities for our workers to do well is a national effort. I am confident that if we continue to work together, businesses will prosper and workers will see their incomes rise."


Singapore has worked hard to establish itself as a business-friendly hub, Mr Lee said at the inauguration, pointing out that the World Bank has consistently ranked the city-state top in the ease of doing business.

One competitive advantage Singapore has is a well-planned, business-friendly infrastructure, Mr Lee said. In master planning, the Government ensures that sufficient land is set aside to grow the economy, with the aim for workers to get to work conveniently through our transport network and adequate amenities provided at the workplace, he said.

Where possible, the Government aims to cluster similar activities together to foster interaction and exchange of ideas. This helps companies to share common facilities, increasing productivity and reducing business cost, he said.

"The Government will continue to develop innovative spaces and create work environments which are favourable, because this is how we can anchor good companies in Singapore and create good jobs for Singaporeans. To achieve this vision, we need to partner with the private sector, because you have the expertise to provide high-quality developments that businesses and workers need, to create dynamic environments conducive to interaction and collaboration," said Mr Lee.

The Government has built regional centres that are “just as high quality as the CBD”, where workers can live, work and play, such as in Jurong East, Tampines and Paya Lebar, he noted. One such regional centre that is taking off is one-north: When master-planning for one-north started 15 years ago, it was envisioned to be a hub for R&D and high-tech activities in the biomedical sciences, IT, media, physical sciences and engineering industries.

To make it a place where businesses and workers can enjoy a vibrant environment conducive to collaboration, food and beverage outlets, retail spaces, childcare centres, gyms and parks were planned for the area. Today, the area is home to some of the world’s leading R&D companies and research talents, Mr Lee said, adding that one-north has created more than 24,000 jobs.

The Metropolis, which is part of the business cluster at one-north, was developed by Ho Bee Land. It first opened at the end of 2013 and already, more than 9,000 people work there. Said Mr Chua: "Today, we have close to 97 per cent take-up rate. We are quite glad we have a lot of MNC tenants like P&G, Shell, NOL, GE and Boston Scientific.

"We can foresee that by 2016, definitely, there will be new office space supply, but if the Singapore economy is doing well, the take-up rate will not be an issue."

No comments:

Post a Comment