How To Maximise SkillsFuture Like A Boss

How To Maximise SkillsFuture Like A Boss

Rebecca Liew

At the risk of sounding like a complete loser, SkillsFuture credits are one of my favourite things in the world.

And this isn’t even a sponsored post.

Never mind the benefits of ‘lifelong learning’, a term so liberally used that it’s lost its flavour – much like ‘wanderlust’ (ugh).

When I first used my credits to enrol in a Graphic Communication course at NAFA last year, I’d signed up with the intention of mastering Adobe Illustrator.

Happy dance
Source: tenor

But here’s the unsurprising catch: going for a SkillsFuture course won’t automatically make you a pro, as I quickly learnt.

With that said, this guide covers all your burning questions about SkillsFuture, including its myriad of programmes beyond SkillsFuture credits.

What Is SkillsFuture?

Essentially, SkillsFuture helps Singaporeans acquire or upgrade their skills, whether in a related field or an area of interest.

Its full host of programmes – ranging from career guidance to courses for emerging skills – are ideal for everyone, even those in their silver years.

If you’re more interested in enrolling in a course, you’re probably looking at ways to redeem your SkillsFuture Credits.

Every Singaporean aged 25 and above is given $500 in credits for use on any of the courses in the extensive SkillsFuture Credit Course Directory, subject to meeting course prerequisites.

Better yet if you’re in your 40s or older, because you’ll enjoy course subsidies of up to 90% at major institutions.

Here’s a selection of other SkillsFuture programmes you’ll find:

If You're Looking For...Recommended ProgrammeIdeal For
An internshipEnhanced InternshipsPoly and ITE undergrads
Industry attachmentsWork-Study Post-Grad Programmes (WSP) Post-grads
Industry-relevant courses spanning finance, data analytics and techSkillsFuture SeriesAll Singaporeans
Education, training and career guidance MySkillsFutureAll Singaporeans and PRs
On-the-job trainingSkillsFuture Earn and LearnPoly and ITE fresh grads
A way to acquire Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skillsTechSkills Accelerator (TeSA)ICT and non-ICT professionals
(both fresh- and mid-career)
Overseas work experienceYoung Talent Programme (YTP)Poly and uni students (Singaporeans and PRs)
A skills-focused bootcamp leading to job placementWork-Learn Bootcamp Fresh grads and mid-career Singaporeans
On-the-job training with partner companiesWork-Study DegreeStudents of NUS, NTU, SIT and SUSS
(select courses only)
A way to advance your skillset in your field SkillsFuture Study Awards
($5,000 monetary award)
Early- to mid-career Singaporeans
Education and career guidanceEducation and Career Guidance (ECG)All Singaporeans
An overview of career resources and opportunitiesSkillsFuture AdviceAll Singaporeans and PRs
A career with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)P-MaxJob-seeking PMETs (Singaporeans and PRs)
Mentorship for your employees SkillsFuture SME MentorsSMEs
Info on emerging skills, programmes and career pathwaysSkills FrameworkEmployers
A tech-skills upgradeSkillsFuture for Digital WorkplaceSingaporeans (individuals and employers)
Full WSQ qualificationsSkillsFuture Qualification AwardSingaporean workers
A mid-career skills boostSkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy
(up to 90% subsidised course fees)
Singaporeans over 40
Skills relating to training delivery and curriculum development iN.LEARN 2020All CET partners and practitioners

Will I Get A Top-Up Of SkillsFuture Credits?

Ah, the waiting game.

While the Government does make periodic top-ups, NTUC’s calls for a top-up of SkillsFuture credits have (sadly) gone unheeded.

No announcements have been made on when the next one will be, either. So give careful thought before chucking your credits at the first course you see!

In the meantime, try these practical tips if you feel like you’re pursuing the wrong degree or job.

Choosing The Right Course (And School)

We know – it can be hard to discern accredited training providers from dodgy ones.

It may just be me, but I’d really rather go for a course in a relatively well-established institution than a private one.

To their credit, SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore have been pretty darn thorough in weeding out shady training providers, but it’s always best to do your research.

Adventure Time Jake and Finn
Source: tenor

My advice?

Stick to the courses that you can find in the official SkillsFuture Credit Course Directory, which allows for searches by categories such as Area of Training and Training Providers.

If you’re employed, check if your company offers extra subsidies for certain courses that are pertinent to your field of work.

Once you’ve narrowed your options, simply follow the steps to be redirected to the training provider’s page.

Skills And Qualifications

Before jumping into enrolment, identify the skills you may need for your career or side hustle.

Then check that you meet the course requirements and whether you’d be able to commit for the length of it.

In my case, I desperately wanted to hone my digital illustration skills, but watching Udemy videos just wasn’t cutting it (I have an exceptionally short attention span).

Should I Just Go For A Crash Course?

A one-day crash course may seem great – minimal commitment! No need for weekly classes! – but the reality is, you’ll likely struggle to retain this knowledge.

Steve Carell The Office
Source: tenor

Unless you’ve a basic foundation in your elected course, it’s down to you to commit to practising whatever’s been taught regularly, even after your course has concluded.

Submitting SkillsFuture Credit Claims

Once you’ve applied for your course through the provider, you’ll be charged the balance, less your SkillsFuture credits. 

So if your Data Analytics course is $600 – and you’ve $500 in credits – you’ll only be charged $100.

WHoT a sTeAL.

Before you go ahead to claim your credits, make sure you’ve proof of payment from your provider. This could be an official invoice or receipt.

Then all you gotta do is follow these steps:

  1. Login to your SkillsFuture Credit Account (via Submit a Claim button)
  2. Fill out your profile if you haven’t
  3. Select the course you’ve enrolled in
  4. Indicate how much of your SkillsFuture credits you wish to use
  5. Upload your supporting documents
  6. Submit!

Ready To Maximise Those Credits?

Like I said, you’ll want to do your research before spending those SkillsFuture credits on something that might not serve you in the long run.

My inner aunty expects monetary returns for all the hours I’ve spent toiling on something.

Bugs Bunny money
Source: tenor

But if you’re simply here to try your hand at something new (or just exploring options for a potential side hustle), these are an excellent starting point:

If you’re planning to start your own business like opening a cafe, you could even go for anything entrepreneurship-related.

Now that you’re well-primed with the info you need, go forth and make full use of SkillsFuture’s many programmes!

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About Rebecca Liew
Lactose-intolerant, but also BS-intolerant. Having written for the likes of Marina Bay Sands and Time Out, I now spend my days saving up for my stationery shop retirement dream.
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