The Skill Development Fund (SDF) is a fund set up by the Singapore Government to encourage businesses to provide training and development opportunities for their employees. The SDF co-funds up to 90% of the cost of approved courses to make it more affordable for companies to invest in employee skills upgrading.
In this guide, we will look at the opportunities available to both employees and employers while also providing you with details on how the scheme is funded via the skill development levy.
What Type of Training is Available?
There is a wide range of schemes that come under the remit of the Skill Development Fund. We’ve selected just a few to discuss in more detail within this guide.
Workforce Skills Training (WST)
WST is a national credential system that aims to train the workforce and offer assessment and certification.
The key features of this scheme are:
- Relevancy: Designed to develop both job role-specific and generic skills
- Accessible: No requirement for academic qualifications for entry-level courses. The scheme also recognizes the individual’s work experience and credentials.
- Short, bite-sized modules can lead to a Statement of Attainment being awarded and then to a full WSQ qualification.
- Authority: Quality assured qualifications through being awarded by SkillsFuture Singapore and their partner organizations.
No matter the sector that an individual works within, there is a relevant course for their development. Some of the most viewed courses on the SCF website include:
- Microsoft MS excel
- Create/Design Website/Online Store
- 3D Printing and Modeling
- Finance and Accounting Essentials
- Japanese Language Beginner to Intermediate
Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETSS)
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can often find it difficult to send their employees on training courses. So the ETSS provides additional support to companies with fewer than 200 employees or a turnover under $100 million.
Support includes a 90% subsidy of the cost of the training course provided by SSG and a $15 course fee subsidy for in-house certifiable training.
Career Conversion Programmes (CCP)
CCP is for individuals who are mid-way through their working career and need to develop their skills to move into a new role or employment sector. There are over 100 different CCP programs currently on offer and three different ways in which CCP can be an appropriate option:
- Place-and-Train: When an employer employs the individual before undertaking training for their new job
- Attach-and-Train: When individuals are provided training and work attachments before gaining a new role
- Redeployment / Job Redesign (JR) Reskilling: Where there is a risk of redundancies in a company, those affected are provided with training to help them gain a new job or an alternative role within the existing company.
What is the SkillsFuture credit?
To meet their objective of encouraging individuals to take responsibility for developing their skills, the SkillsFuture Credit provided all Singaporeans aged 25 and over with a credit of S$500.
The scheme was introduced in 2015 and was followed up with a one-off top-up of an additional $500 to those same individuals aged 25 and above on 31 December 2020.
Additional SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career Support)
Changing careers can be tough, and when you’re into the second half of your working life, then opportunities can be challenging to come by. This resulted in the decision to help individuals aged between 40 and 60 on 31st December 2020 with an additional $500 SkillsFuture credit.
This additional support can be used for SkillsFuture Career Transition programs to help individuals take their careers in a new direction. It was, however, recognized that these programs were not always the right option for everyone, and so as of June 2022, the course eligibility was expanded to include:
1. Courses delivered by SSG-appointed CET centers
2. Courses fulfilling the training requirements for Progressive Wage Model sectors
3. Full qualifications program delivered by Institutes of Higher Learnings
How is the Scheme Funded?
The Skills Development Act introduced a levy (SDL) to pay for the training support offered by the Skill Development Fund. No matter whether it’s a private or statutory board, all companies pay the SDL each month on behalf of their employees.
It’s important to know that it makes no difference whether you access the training or not, all companies are required to pay the levy.
How Much is the Skills Development Levy?
The SDL is calculated as a percentage of the monthly salary of each employee. This is currently set at .25% with a $2 minimum payment and a maximum of $11.25. A maximum salary for the levy calculation was put in place, which is $4,500.
SDL is compulsory for all employees, no matter their working hours or whether they are temporary, local, or foreign workers.
With the levy being a statutory requirement, there are penalties for late payment at a rate of 10% of the outstanding amount due.
Suman(Kul Prasad) Pandit is a graduate from Tribhuvan University with four-year experience in corporate and start-up sectors in UK and USA. Being a responsible & sustainable business enthusiast he is dedicated to business education to solve problems in entrepreneurship and business growth.