Your Guide to the National Silver Academy (NSA): Courses, Subsidies and Eligibility Criteria
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Your Guide to the National Silver Academy (NSA): Courses, Subsidies and Eligibility Criteria

profileRebecca Liew
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So, you’ve hit most major milestones in the Singapore dream: saved $100,000 by the age of 30, planted a dollar in your Supplementary Retirement Scheme (SRS), and secured a BTO in a prized location.

But have you, cough, upskilled yourself?

Boosted your employability by working to close the skills gaps you might be lacking?

Patrick Star shooketh shookt shocked
Source: tenor

If you’re aged 50 and up (or my dad), then you might’ve heard of the National Silver Academy (NSA) — or signed up for a short course or diploma programme through its official site.

It’s the government’s way of ensuring all Singaporean seniors remain employable through affordable courses, with subsidies of up to 50% off course fees.

And, yep, you can use your SkillsFuture Credits in tandem with these subsidies.

Bob's Burger yay
Source: tenor

Here’s an overview of what this guide covers:

  • What is the National Silver Academy (NSA)?
  • Can I Use SkillsFuture Credits On Top of NSA Subsidies?
  • What Subject Areas Are Covered Under NSA?
  • What NSA Programmes Can I Enrol In?
  • Course Providers

What is the National Silver Academy?

Thinking Emoji

The National Silver Academy (NSA) was established in 2015, and offers an extensive range of learning options for seniors, or those aged 50 and up — whether through courses in post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs) or community-based organisations.

You’ll be eligible for course subsidies of up to 50% if you:

  • Are a Singaporean aged 50 and up (for short courses run by PSEIs)
  • Are a Singaporean citizen or PR aged 50 and up (for short courses run by community-based organisations)

Can I Use SkillsFuture Credits On Top of NSA Subsidies?

Cash

By golly, yes; your SkillsFuture Credits can be used in addition to existing course subsidies for selected NSA programmes.

And with the impending SkillsFuture top-ups slated for October 2020, that’s up to an extra $1,000 in SkillsFuture Credits for use on a wide range of courses — including selected reskilling programmes.

What Subject Areas Are Covered Under NSA?

If you’re feeling stuck, you might first want to seek an opinion from a career guidance counsellor.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) and NTUC’s e2i Institute are good places to start, and offer free one-to-one career coaching services that allow you to identify blind spots in your career path. You’ll need to make an appointment prior, though.

In itself, courses under NSA span six key subject areas:

National Silver Academy (NSA) Subject CategoryExamples of Courses Offered
Media, Arts & DesignAcrylic Painting I
Creative Writing: Writing Books for Young Children
Introduction to Charcoal Drawing
Digital Photography for Absolute Beginners I
Music Production and Studio Recording I
Health & WellnessBasic Barista and Coffee Appreciation Workshop
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Course
Cooking for the Elderly and Effects of Aging on Taste
Understanding Food Labels
Introduction to Aromatherapy and its Benefits
Ageing & Life SkillsBasic Nutrition and Managing Obesity in Pets
Basics of Elder Caregiving Skills
Dementia II: Care and Support
Effective Negotiation Skills
Grow Microgreens (Edible Immature Greens) and Culinary Herbs
HumanitiesLanguage classes, e.g. Japanese/Korean/Thai/Vietnamese/Arabic, etc.
Creative Thinking Made Easy
Finance & BusinessApplying Contract Law in Everyday Life
Entrepreneurship: Build Your Business Model and Deliver a Winning Pitch
How to Start an Online Business
Reading, Understanding and Analysing Financial Statements for Seniors
Reading, Understanding and Analysing Financial Statements for Seniors
IT & ScienceCoding
Movie-Making
Infographics for Design and Presentation
Social Networking: Facebook
Digital Banking

What NSA Programmes Can I Enrol In?

There’re three types of programmes offered; prerequisites vary for each. Here’s a closer look at what to expect.

1. Short Courses

Ranging from three hours to 12 weeks, short courses are the perfect primer if you’re looking to set the foundations for a topic — such as starting an online business or analysing financial statements.

Singaporean seniors (we reiterate: anyone aged 50 and up) will enjoy 50% off course fees at PSEIs, capped at $500 per course.

Note, however, that government subsidies don’t cover GST.

Oh... Sad

On the bright side, your SkillsFuture Credits can be used to offset the GST payable, as well as cover the difference for your course.

To give you better perspective, let’s break things down:

WhatAmount Payable
(Hypothetical) Course Fees$400
Course Subsidy50% x $400
GST Payable7% x $400
SkillsFuture Claimable? Yes, for both GST and balance
Total Payable$228
Breakdown:
($400 x 50%) + ($400 x 7%)

Depending on whether you’ve SkillsFuture Credits to use up, you could spend between nothing to $228 for a $400 course. Pretty neat, if you ask us.

2. Exam-Free Modules

Unlike short courses, exam-free modules allow you to attend full-qualification programmes in polytechnics, ITE branches and universities alongside regular students.

Each module typically lasts a term or semester — chargeable for a token sum.

So, yes, you’ll likely be older than your classmates…but hasn’t it always been about lifelong learning?

Cool kid
Source: tenor

The difference is, you won’t have to sit for course exams — nor will your attendance allow you to earn a certificate or qualification.

3. Ad-Hoc Learning Opportunities

Under ad-hoc learning opportunities, Singaporeans and PRs will be able to attend short talks or partake in the Intergenerational Learning Programme (ILP), the latter of which lives up to its name by matching youths with seniors in a group-learning environment.

That means delving into topics such as using social media, or learning a musical instrument.

Course Providers

illustration of red apartment building

In all, 41 PSEIs and community-based organisations are registered under the NSA.

Here’s the full list of course providers, for your easy perusal:

National Silver Academy Course Providers
Post-Secondary Education Institutions (PSEIs)Institute of Technical Education (ITE)
LASALLE College of the Arts
Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA)
Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)
Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
National University of Singapore (NUS)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)
Republic Polytechnic (RP)
Singapore Management University (SMU)
Singapore Polytechnic (SP)
Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)
Temasek Polytechnic (TP)
Community-Based OrganisationsAlzheimer’s Disease Association
Brahm Centre
Centre For Seniors
Centre of Activity and Recreation for the Elders (CARE)
Diabetes Singapore
En Community Services Society (ECSS)
Family Central
Jamiyah Singapore
Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation
Life Point
Mendaki SENSE
National University of Singapore Society (NUSS)
NTUC Learning Hub
PPIS
Primary Care Academy
Rotary Learning Institute
RSVP Singapore
Singapore Association for Continuing Education (SACE)
Singapore Council Of Women’s Organisations (SCWO)
Singapore Institute of Directors (SID)
Society for WINGS (WINGS)
Sustainable Living Lab
The Photographic Society of Singapore (PSS)
Tsao Foundation
YAH!
Other PartnersInstitute for Financial Literacy
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH)
Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC)
Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH)

 Ready to Kickstart Your NSA Journey?

It can be daunting exploring foreign ground, but breaking out of your comfort zone is the first step to learning new stuff, staying relevant — and maybe even boosting your monthly income.

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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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