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Singapore

Last Updated: April 2024

This profile is represented by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Information outside the purview of ITE are extracted from the public domain websites of government agencies involved in skills development in Singapore. The sources are referenced accordingly and are correct at the point of extraction. The RKP shall supplement more information particularly from polytechnics, as well as other TVET line Ministries, private TVET institutions and relevant agencies in the course of time. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to share relevant information to help us further develop the profile.

Key Indicators


  • Capital

    Singapore

  • Main Industries/Sectors

    Manufacturing; Construction; Wholesale & Retail Trade; Transportation & Storage; Finance & Insurance; Business Services 


Economy

TVET

Overview

The Singaporean economy is driven by its manufacturing, financial and tourism sector that employs skilled personnel trained to perform role-specific tasks. Particularly, in the wake of industry 4.0, a highly-skilled Singaporean workforce - that is future ready - is seen as the key contributor in advancing a world-class economy that is diverse, inclusive and globally competitive. With no significant natural oil and gas reserves in its possession, Singapore’s real natural resources indeed are its people.

The Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) system, policies and initiatives in Singapore are in line with the needs of industry. TVET along with continuing education and adult and lifelong learning has paved the way for the development and progression of a knowledge- and skilled-based economy.

In particular, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the five polytechnics (Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, and Temasek Polytechnic) under the Ministry of Education are the major suppliers of TVET in Singapore. These, along with other Post-Secondary Educational Institutes (PSEIs), offer a wide range of current and relevant occupation-based programmes that cover various sectors and industries including design, education, engineering, finance, health, hospitality & tourism, IT, law, media & communications, real estate and more.

At the same time, the private sector is an integral part of the TVET System in Singapore. Since it plays a significant role in developing a skilled, future-ready and an employable workforce, the Government has forged close partnerships with key stakeholders from the industry.

Of late, SkillsFuture is one of the key national initiatives of the Government toward advancing TVET. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), a statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE), is tasked to implement SkillsFuture initiatives by working with educational institutions and training partners to build a vibrant landscape of high-quality, industry-relevant training. Alongside, Workforce Singapore (WSG), a statutory body under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) is mandated to drive efforts to help Singaporeans assume quality jobs and careers, while addressing industry manpower needs.34

This profile outlines the TVET system in Singapore and provides information on more recent efforts and developments.

Mission

SkillsFuture,2 a national movement started in 2015 and overseen by the Future Economy Council (FEC)2 seeks to provide Singaporeans with the opportunities to develop their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points (schooling, early career, mid-career or silver years). With the help of education and training providers, employers or unions, Singaporeans have access to a variety of resources to help attain skills mastery and lifelong learning. Through this movement, the skills, passion and contributions of every individual will help Singapore realise the future it has envisioned.

The SkillsFuture initiative has four key thrusts2:

  1. Help individuals make well-informed choices in education, training and careers;
  2. Develop an integrated high-quality system of education and training that responds to constantly evolving needs;
  3. Promote employer recognition and career development based on skills and mastery; and
  4. Foster a culture that supports and celebrates lifelong learning.
Legislation

‘Skills-Future Singapore Agency Act 2016 (No. 24 of 2016)’3 and ‘Workforce Singapore Agency Act (Chapter 305D)’4 are the two acts that govern TVET strategy and implementation in Singapore.

Strategy

Sectoral Manpower Development Plan7

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will work closely with employers and other key stakeholders to design and implement a framework to enable individuals to advance in their careers by climbing skill ladders. 

In collaboration with sector lead agencies, employers, and unions, SSG will co-develop medium-term manpower and skills plans for each key sector, in order to support industry growth and productivity efforts. These Sectoral Manpower Strategies will identify sector-specific manpower and skills requirements over a five-year period, and outline a holistic package of measures to meet these requirements.

Industry Transformation Maps (ITMs)8 & Skills Frameworks (SFs)11

Under the S$4.5 billion Industry Transformation Programme, roadmaps have been developed for 23 industries to address issues within each industry and deepen partnerships between Government, firms, industries, trade associations and chambers.

The FEC will take overall responsibility for the implementation of the ITMs. To do so, the FEC has six sub-committees, with each sub-committee overseeing a group of ITMs within the same broad cluster of industries. The ITMs are grouped into six clusters,8 each comprising a group of them from the same broad cluster of industries, namely, manufacturing, built environment, trade and connectivity, essential domestic services, modern services and lifestyle. Each ITM will consist of a growth and competitiveness plan, supported by four pillars i.e. productivity, jobs & skills, innovation, and trade and internationalisation.17,5

Plans for Skills Development for the Future Economy 

In 2021, the inaugural Skills Demand for the Future Economy Report45 identified the  Green, Digital and Care Economies as growth engines that will create new job roles,  change existing job content and bring about new skills requirements across a large  swathe of the economy. It also introduced the idea of 'priority skills', which are skills  that are highly transferable across job roles within each of the three economies. In  other words, these skills are applicable in many job roles and will contribute  significantly to the individual's long term career versatility. 

Since then, there have been redoubled efforts to green Singapore's economy; post COVID tailwinds have quickened the pace of digitalisation and automation; on the  care economy front, there has been increased focus on preventive healthcare,  lifelong learning and mental well-being. 

SkillsFuture Singapore has, therefore, decided to maintain the spotlight on these  three economies in the 2022 report. Building upon the inaugural report, the 2022  analysis of skills demand has been enriched in three ways.

First, a new dimension on skills demand growth has been added and analysed  alongside skills transferability. Demand growth captures the relative scale of the  increase in demand for that skill, while transferability captures the scope of the skill's  applicability across different job roles. 

The two-dimensional analysis seeks to provide deeper insights on the nature of the  priority skills identified. 

Second, these economy-wide skills can be applied to a particular segment of the  economy, with its distinct requirements. For example, adopting Industry 4.0 (I4.0)  technologies and processes in the manufacturing sector has effect on job roles and  skills. Changes to jobs and skills due to I4.0 are closely intertwined with the larger  digitalisation and sustainability movements. 

Third, as job roles undergo transformation and redesign, mid-career workers can  upskill to stay relevant, or reskill to take on opportunities in adjacent growth roles.  Some of these transitions require more upskilling, but can lead to greater, longer term returns.  

Critical core skills (CCS) or transversal skills continue to be important as enterprises  embark on transformation which require communication, coordination and  management. 

Governance

Two statutory boards were set up to oversee different aspects of manpower policies, planning  and implementation: SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore.

SkillsFuture Singapore1,38

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE). It drives and coordinates the implementation of the national SkillsFuture movement, promotes a culture and holistic system of lifelong learning through the pursuit of skills mastery, and strengthens the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore.

SSG strengthens the adult training infrastructure by taking on all existing functions of the Committee for Private Education (CPE) and the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) to enhance the capabilities and professionalism of adult educators. SSG plays a key role in the quality assurance for private education institutions and adult training centres. Together with educational institutions and training partners, SSG ensures that students and working adults have access to high quality, industry-relevant training throughout life. SSG also brings together synergies in continuing education and training (CET) and pre-employment training (PET), so skills requirements will continue to meet the demands of different sectors of the economy.

SSG is committed to high standards of corporate governance. The SSG Board and Management have established a framework to ensure strict adherence to good corporate governance practices. The SSG Board provides guidance and advice to the SSG Management on all matters under SSG’s purview, including its policy, regulatory and promotional roles. It also reviews and approves the strategic plans and budgets of SSG. The SSG Board members come from diverse backgrounds such as the unions, the private and public sectors. This allows SSG to tap on their varied experiences and perspectives.

Workforce Singapore1,38

Workforce Singapore (WSG) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower that oversees the transformation of the local workforce and industry to meet ongoing economic challenges. WSG promotes the development, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and employability of all levels of the workforce to ensure that all sectors of the economy are supported by a strong, inclusive Singaporean core.

While its key focus is to help workers meet their career aspirations and secure quality jobs at different stages of life, WSG also addresses the needs of business owners and companies by providing support to enable manpower-lean enterprises to remain competitive. Furthermore, it helps businesses in different economic sectors create quality jobs, develop a manpower pipeline to support industry growth, and match the right people to the right jobs.

WSG is committed to high standards of corporate governance. The WSG Board and Management have established a framework to ensure strict adherence to good corporate governance practices. The WSG Board provides guidance and advice to the WSG Management on all matters under WSG's scope, including its policy, operational and promotional roles.

The WSG Board also reviews and approves the strategic plans and budgets of WSG. WSG Board members are selected from a diverse range of backgrounds, from the unions, and the private and public sectors to tap on their varied experience and perspective.

Financing

Financing Pre-Employment Training (PET)

The Ministry of Education (MOE) provides development and recurrent funds to all educational institutions including TVET institutions like the Institute of Technical Education and the five Polytechnics.

The total amount of development funds for education fluctuate according to the needs. Figure 1 shows Government of Singapore’s total development expenditure on education on an annual basis from 1985 to 2020.

Figure 1. Government Total Expenditure on Education22

The distribution of government recurrent funds based on type of educational institutions for the period 1981-2020 is shown in Figure 2. The general trend is that the amount has continuously increased each year.

Figure 2. Government Recurrent Expenditure on Education by Type of Educational Institution20

The Government recurrent expenditure on education per student for the period 1986-2016, broken down by the type of educational institution can be seen in Figure 3. The general trend is that the expenditure per student at ITE and Polytechnics has remained higher than the expenditure per student at primary or secondary school.

Figure 3. Government Recurrent Expenditure on Education Per Student21

Financing Continuing Education and Training (CET) 65 

SSG and its training providers have contributed substantially to the development, provision  and pervasiveness of Continuing Education and Training (CET) since the start of SkillsFuture  movement in 2015. The CET landscape has also changed significantly over the years – training  supply is now more diversified and there is growing acceptance of workplace learning even as  technological and economic disruptions increase instances of skills obsolescence.  

To ensure that accessibility, quality, and impact of courses continue to improve over time  given the changing training landscape, SSG continually reviews and develops policies and  programmes to better meet our workforce’s and enterprises’ evolving training needs. This is  to ensure Singapore’s workforce remain relevant and nimble, and to help our enterprises  pivot and remain adaptable.  

To this end, SSG has reviewed funding criteria to ensure that SSG’s resources remain  channelled to courses that deliver the best outcomes. SSG will accord the higher tier funding  only to courses that deliver stronger enterprise transformation/manpower development  objectives. 

In general, CET Funding takes the forms of60, 61

  • Self-sponsored funding 
  • Workfare Skills Support (WSS)62

WSS encourages low wage workers to undertake training that leads to more impactful  employment outcomes. Training allowances are given for selected courses that  individuals had paid for themselves. A cash reward for completing training is also  given. 

  • Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETS)63

Recognising the challenges that SMEs may face in sending their employees for  training, the Enhanced Training Support for SMEs (ETSS) offers additional support for  SMEs in the form of higher course fee subsidies. SMEs enjoy SkillsFuture funding when  they sponsor their employees to attend courses supported by SkillsFuture Singapore  (SSG). 

  • SkillsFuture Mid-career Enhanced Subsidy64

The SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy supports and encourages lifelong  learning and helps Singaporeans stay responsive to a changing workplace.  Recognising that mid-career individuals may face greater challenges in undertaking  training, the Government has implemented this programme to encourage mid-career  Singaporeans to upskill and reskill. 

The SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy is for Singaporeans aged 40 years old  and above. Eligible individuals will receive higher subsidies of course fees for SSG supported courses and MOE-subsidised full-time and part-time courses ranging from  Nitec to postgraduate level in institutions such as the universities, polytechnics, and  ITE. 

System

Singapore Education System

As seen in the Singapore Education System (Figure 4), Singapore has six years of primary education, four to five years of secondary education, two or more years of postsecondary education, including university. TVET courses are offered at secondary level, as well as at postsecondary level through ITE, five polytechnics, apprenticeship systems, and continuing education.

According to the Compulsory Education (CE) Act,25 a child of ‘compulsory school age’ is one who is above the age of 6 years and who has not yet attained the age of 15 years. Compulsory Education was implemented in Singapore in 2003. The first cohort of pupils under CE are Singapore Citizen children born between 2nd January 1996 and 1st January 1997 who are residing in the country.

Figure 4. Singapore Education System with CET System33(p34)

TVET System

Formal TVET System (PET - Pre-Employment Training)

Singapore’s education policy is shaped primarily by the global economic landscape and the industry’s human resource requirements. Its leaders have a good understanding of how its education system can nurture every citizen to succeed in the knowledge economy.

PROGRESSION PATHWAYS

The current education system has both vertical and lateral progression pathways to allow every child to work towards their aspirations according to their strengths and learning pace (fig. 5). After receiving at least ten years of formal education, students have the options to join the following Post-Secondary Educational Institutions (PSEIs)28:

  1. Those who are more academically inclined may opt to study a pre-university course, either at a junior college (2-year course) or a centralised institute (3-year course) and then take the GCE ‘A’ Level examinations in order to gain entry to university;
  2. Those who prefer a diploma that focuses on technical skills required of middle-level professionals may pursue a programme at one of the five polytechnics (3-year course);
  3. Those who are vocationally inclined may acquire trade skills at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and be awarded the National ITE Certificate (Nitec) that is industry recognised.

 

Figure 5. Singapore’s Education System & Pathways26

TVET INSTITUTES & STUDIES

ITE and Polytechnics are the key providers of TVET at postsecondary level.

Institute of Technical Education (ITE)24,28

Institute of Technical Education Act (Chapter 141A)16 led to the establishment of the ITE on 1 April 1992. As a postsecondary institution, the ITE took over the role and functions of the Vocational & Industrial Training Board (VITB) (1979 – 1991) and focused its effort on meeting manpower needs at the technician and semi-professional level. ITE offers close to 100 courses across 12 sectors, covering industries in engineering, business and services, electronics and IT, applied and health sciences, design and media, hospitality and tourism. To support lifelong learning and ensure continued relevance, ITE’s programmes also cater to ITE graduates and adult learners who enrol in its part-time courses.

ITE has three colleges (College East, College West, College Central) that were built one after another since 2005. Together, they have student enrolment of about 28,000 full-time students (2017). With a ‘One ITE System, Three Colleges’ education and governance model, ITE is able to offer high quality courses that are delivered consistently across the colleges. ITE’s unique “Hands-on, Minds-on, Hearts-on”18 education philosophy nurtures students holistically through applied learning in authentic environment, opportunities to apply creative thinking to solve real world problems and programmes that imbue sound values towards self, others and the community.

ITE provides pre-employment career and technical training to secondary school leavers. About 25 per cent of secondary school leavers join ITE for full-time career and technical training. ITE courses lead to the National ITE Certificate (Nitec) or the Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec).29 Students are typically between 17-19 years old when they enrol in ITE courses.40(p1) The required educational qualification to enter postsecondary studies at ITE is O- or N-Level certificates for full-time courses.29

Apart from full-time institutional training, students can also acquire skills certification through traineeship programmes conducted jointly by companies and ITE. ITE also offers Technical Diploma Programmes (TDPs) in collaboration with foreign partners in niche areas such as automotive engineering and culinary arts, to provide additional pathways for skills upgrading. Those who are interested in furthering their education can also be considered for admission to the polytechnics based on their Nitec or Higher Nitec qualifications.

The Government’s 2016 recurrent expenditure on training provided by ITE was around S$465 million.20

Polytechnics

There are five polytechnics in Singapore,23 namely, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore Polytechnic (SP) and Temasek Polytechnic (TP). They offer a wide range of postsecondary courses in diverse fields which equip graduates with practical knowledge and skills to meet the economy’s manpower needs.

GCE ‘O’-Level school leavers may enrol in one of the five polytechnics in Singapore to pursue full-time diploma programmes. Most of the polytechnic graduates enter the workforce after graduation, but about four in ten would go on to obtain a university degree within five years of graduation from the polytechnic. Therefore, polytechnic education with its practice-oriented curricular in exciting fields such as biomedical and life sciences, design, hospitality and tourism management, and interactive and digital media has become an attractive alternative to the more academic junior college education for progression to the university.

To enter polytechnics, the required educational qualification is O-Level certificates, Nitec or Higher Nitec qualifications for full-time (3-year) diploma courses. Those with other qualifications such as A-Level certificates may also be considered. Students with N-Level certificates may apply for a place in the polytechnics through the Polytechnic Foundation Programme, which admits students to the foundation year of a specific diploma course.

Students in the polytechnics are given opportunities to immerse themselves in the relevant industries via work attachments that vary in duration from six weeks to six months or longer for selected courses. Such exposure to industry work and culture provides students with on-the-job experiences, as well as opportunities to network with practitioners. Owing to the practice-based learning approach, students acquire valuable life skills and become creative problem solvers. The polytechnics have excellent training facilities, including industry standard laboratories and workshops, well-equipped lecture halls and tutorial rooms, and libraries with comprehensive physical and digital collections.

The Government’s 2016 recurrent expenditure on training provided by the polytechnics was around S$1.38 billion.20

Formal TVET System (CET – Continuing Education and Training)

Every child in Singapore has the opportunity to receive education for at least ten years. This is followed by post-secondary education for more than 90% of the secondary school leavers. For this reason, non-formal and informal TVET is insignificant in Singapore. Furthermore, with SkillsFuture, the government has invested extensively to meet the training needs of adult learners to ensure that their skills remain relevant to the economy.

Mr Ong Ye Kung35 then Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) in his opening address at The Lifelong Learning Festival 2017, outlined the government’s plans to ramp up CET delivery capacity via employers, private training institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).

Over the next few years, from 2017 to 2020, MOE will expand CET delivery capacity significantly, by ramping up delivery by IHLs. This will ensure that CET delivery system rests on three equally strong pillars – employers, private training institutes, and IHLs – each playing a critical, systemic role35.

The Government is working with the unions and industry bodies to build up the second CET pillar – private sector training institutions, to offer subsidised training directly to individual workers. Today, there are about 50 private-sector led CET centres offering training for workers across many industries. Community Development Councils (CDCs) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) have helped connect individual workers to relevant training courses offered by CET Centres, making the promotion of lifelong learning a strong Tripartite effort. To upgrade their skills and enhance their employability, workers can sign up for the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) programmes.

Types of SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes48 

SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes provide opportunities for Singaporeans to pursue a  work-study pathway from the Diploma to Post-Graduate and Degree levels, offered by the  Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and private providers appointed by SkillsFuture Singapore  (SSG), as well as the industry.

Figure 6. Types of SkillsFuture Work-Study programmes48

 

Work-Study Diploma at ITE 

Apart from full-time institutional training, students can also acquire skills certification through traineeship programmes conducted jointly by companies and ITE. Leveraging on ITE’s core strength in learning by doing, the Work-Study Diploma programme offers ITE graduates a head start in their career while pursuing a nationally recognised diploma. Through workplace training programmes, they will receive practical training at their workplace guided by industry experts and continue to learn also from qualified lecturers at ITE. As an employee of the participating company, they will enjoy a stable income, employee benefits, full sponsorship of their ITE training and a clear career pathway. 31,49They basically undergo an apprenticeship at a local partner company (70% attendance) while concurrently undertaking a course at ITE (30% attendance)31

National Qualifications Framework

Singapore Standard Educational Classification

The Singapore Department of Statistics has developed the Singapore Standard Educational Classification (SSEC) for statistical purposes (as shown in Table 1). The SSEC distinguishes between various educational levels according to education type (primary, secondary, post-secondary, etc.), but does not set or describe any competency outcomes for these levels.

Table 1. Singapore Standard Educational Classification33(p13)

Singapore Standard Educational Classification

National Skills Framework 

At the national level, the Skills Framework11 is a collaborative initiative between the  government and employers, industry associations, unions, and professional bodies, as part of  the Industry Transformation Maps.8 It provides key information on sector and employment,  career pathways, occupations/job roles. As well as existing and emerging skills required for  the identified occupations/job roles. It also provides a list of training programmes for skills  upgrading and mastery. 

The Skills Framework aims to create a common skills language for individuals, employers and  training providers. This further helps to facilitate skills recognition and support the design of  training programmes for skills and career development. The Skills Framework is also  developed with the objectives to build deep skills for a lean workforce, enhance business  competitiveness and support employment and employability. 

A Skills Framework (SF) is outlined below in Figure 7. 

Singapore Standard Educational Classification

Figure 7. Skills Framework41

Effort is underway to develop Skills Frameworks to support the Industry Transformation  Maps. Starting from 2016, the Skills Frameworks are being launched progressively for various  sectors. As of Nov 2022, the SF have already been launched for 34 sectors in total.37

Workforce Skills Qualifications System for CET 

The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ)39 is a national credential system that  trains, develops, assesses and certifies skills and competencies for the workforce. As a  continuing education and training (CET) system, WSQ supports the SkillsFuture movement to: 

  • Promote recognition of skills and competencies to facilitate progression, mastery and  mobility; 
  • Promote holistic development of the workforce through technical and generic skills  and competencies;
  • Support economic development by professionalising skills and competencies to drive  industry transformation, productivity and innovation efforts; and 
  • Encourage lifelong learning. 

Training programmes developed under the WSQ system are based on skills and competencies  validated by employers, unions and professional bodies. This process ensures existing and  emerging skills and competencies that are in demand are used to inform training and  development under WSQ. 

ITE Certification Framework

The following framework is an example of TVET certification frameworks from the Institute of Technical Education. ITE provides four levels of certification:

  • ITE Skills Certificate for courses that require completion of primary school education as an entry requirement;
  • National ITE Certificate (Nitec) for courses that require completion of GCE ‘N’ or GCE ‘O’ as an entry requirement with pre-requisites for certain courses;
  • Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec) for courses that require GCE ‘O’ or GCE ‘N(A) with pre-requisites as an entry requirement; and
  • Technical Diploma or Work Learn Technical Diploma for courses that require relevant Higher Nitec /Nitec as an entry requirement in specific industries.
  • Certificate of Competency (CoC) is a new certification introduced in 2017 to cater to  Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians looking for short courses to help  them in their career progression/transition or to keep abreast of changes in skills  needed by the markets. CoC courses generally do not have minimum entry  requirements (MER) to facilitate access to adult learners. However, pre-requisite  knowledge of work experience in the relevant areas where necessary will be indicated  in the course promotional material as an advisory note to applicants. MER may be  stipulated for courses where regulatory requirements have to be complied with.

The ITE Certification Framework (Figure 8), and is shown here as tightly integrated into the Singapore's educational and training system (Figure 9).
The ITE Certification System46,47 involves the provision of three types of key programmes: pre employment training, continuing education & training, and workplace training57.

Figure 8. ITE's Role in Singapore's Education & training System57

In terms of ITE's place in the nation's educational landscape, the following diagram shows the  flexibility of its programmes for students to progress via different pathways.

Figure 9. ITE, as part of Singapore Education & Training System57

 

Quality Assurance & Standards

Higher Education Operations Division58

Under the Singapore's Ministry of Education, the Higher Education Group (HEG) oversees the autonomous universities, polytechnics, Institute of Technical Education, Arts Institutions, and private education institutes. It also oversees policies on higher education and lifelong learning.

Within this group, the Higher Education Policy Division (HEPD) formulates, implements and reviews policies relating to universities, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education, the Arts Institutions, and Private Education Institutions.

The other division, the Higher Education Operations Division (HEOD) formulates and implements strategic human resource and quality assurance policies and initiatives to build up the capabilities at the Institutes of Higher Learning in support of MOE's objectives to develop a higher quality education sector.

The HEOD also oversees MOE’s quality assurance frameworks for the IHLs and MOE-funded post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs), and provides support to MOE senior management for initiatives related to talent and leadership development, staff capabilities, and resourcing at our IHLs and PSEIs etc. HEOD also supports corporate services in HEG.

Quality Assurance for WSQ programme39

With the roll out of the Skills Frameworks in 2016, the WSQ adopts the skills and competencies covered in the Skills Frameworks. The WSQ programmes are funded and quality-assured by SkillsFuture Singapore, which awards the WSQ certifications.

The WSQ certifications from accredited courses aim to equip individual with skills demanded by the current and future economy. WSQ is underpinned by a strong quality assurance framework. From developing Technical Skills and Competencies and Critical Core Skills, to approving training providers and awarding WSQ qualifications, stringent criteria are applied to ensure the necessary standards and delivery. A structured and efficient system has been established to help build a strong training infrastructure that supports Singapore's workforce development.

Key features of the WSQ include:

  • Relevance: A competency-based system, designed to develop job role-specific  skills and competencies, as well as critical core skills and competencies that are  required across job roles. 

  • Open Access: No academic pre-requisites needed for entry and recognises  prior learning, such as work experience and credentials. Offers bite-sized  modules leading to the award of a Statement of Attainment, which an  individual may acquire leading up to a full WSQ qualification. 

  • Progression: Makes available skills and qualification pathways which align to  the Skills Framework for the respective sectors.

  • Authority: Statements of Attainment and qualifications are quality assured  and awarded by SkillsFuture Singapore and/or in partnership with established  awarding bodies. 

Graduates

According to the Education Statistics Digest 2021 by the Ministry of Education Singapore,27 Engineering is the most popular course among ITE students (Table 2), followed by Business  and Services, and Electronics & Infocomm Technology respectively. Similar to ITE, the most  popular course at Polytechnics is also Engineering (Table 3). The next popular courses are  Business and Administration, Information Technology, and Health Sciences respectively. 

Table 2. Intake, Enrolment and Graduates of ITE By Course (Full-Time), 202027(p17)

Table 3. Intake, Enrolment and Graduates of Polytechnics By Course (Full-Time), 202027(p20) 

Employment Outcome of Graduates

According to the Singapore Yearbook of Manpower Statistics 2022,14 for the year 2021, 91.4%  of fresh graduates from Polytechnics and 94.2% of Post-NS graduates from Polytechnics were  employed either on a full-time or a part-time basis. The median monthly starting salaries for fresh graduates and Post-NS graduates engaged in full-time work were S$2,400 and S$2,614  respectively. On the other hand, 79.9% fresh ITE graduates and 85.3% Post-NS ITE graduates  respectively found either full-time or part-time employment. The median monthly starting  salaries for fresh graduates and Post-NS graduates engaged in full-time work were S$2,400  and S$2,614 respectively. (While fresh graduates comprise mostly females who are not liable  for National Service (NS) after graduation and males who defer NS for further studies, Post NS graduates comprise male graduates who have completed their full-time NS, between April  2020 and March 2021 for 2021 data). Table 4 lists out the key statistics on employment  outcome of graduates from Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs) for the period 2011-2021. 

Table 4. Key Statistics on Employment Outcome of Graduates from Institutions of Higher Learning, 2011-202144(Table H2)

 

Personnel (Teachers)

Hiring Practices

The polytechnics and ITE recruit lecturers who have professional qualifications and working experience in the relevant industry. They bring with them a wealth of professional knowledge and expertise, as well as their own industry network.

 

Lecturers' Professional Development in IHLs

To help them stay in touch with the constantly changing industry practices, polytechnics and ITE lecturers can upgrade themselves through industrial and workplace attachment or attend postgraduate courses.

To assist academic staff in their roles as lecturers, polytechnic lecturers usually undergo a short induction course at the time of joining. However, in-service courses are normally provided by professional learning designers from the teaching and learning centres to ensure that lecturers are up-to-date with the most current pedagogical practices including the use of educational technologies for teaching delivery.

Besides workplace attachments and training courses, lecturers can hone their skills by participating in projects, consultancy work or experiencing real world projects in the Technology Development Centres.

 

Lecturers' Professional Development in ITE

In ITE, it is mandatory for new lecturers to undergo a rigorous Advanced Certificate in Technical Education Programme (ACTEP) that has duration of 40 weeks. Face-to-face modules are conducted during vacations and interspersed with practicum that is supervised by Lecturer Mentors.

Experienced lecturers who would like to deepen their competencies in designing learning and leading pedagogic practices can attend in-service programmes at the diploma level. Other in service lecturers can opt to attend courses that are related to the integration of ICT in lesson delivery, pastoral care or educational career guidance.

Private Sector Cooperation

Private sector plays a significant role in developing a skilled, future-ready and an employable  workforce in Singapore and is an integral part of the national TVET System. 

In order to a) identify and promote the enhancement of industry-specific skills, b) enhance  individuals’ employability, and c) increase workforce productivity and improve the  international competitiveness of commerce and industry, the Workforce Singapore Agency  Act (Chapter 305D) along with other functions mandates the Workforce Singapore to  collaborate with and support employers, relevant representatives of commerce or industry  and public sector agencies in Singapore.15

Work Study Diploma Programmes from the IHLs 

IHLs foster partnerships with the private sector in myriad ways. One of these ways is Work Study Diploma.50

The Work-Study Diploma (WSDip) is part of the suite of SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes  offered by Institute of Higher Learning (IHLs) and appointed private providers, as well as the  industry. Targeting at fresh graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), WSDip  provides them with a head-start in their careers related to their discipline of study and more  opportunities to build on the skills and knowledge they acquired in school through a work study arrangement. 

Individuals will be matched with a job related to their discipline of study and undergo a 12- to  36-month structured training programme, depending on the programme, sector and job  requirements. The programme includes facilitated learning, on-the-job training and work based projects, to allow them to deepen their skill sets at the workplace. They will have an  assigned mentor at the workplace and enjoy a well-structured career progression pathway, in  line with the company’s talent development plan. At the end of the programme, they will  receive an industry-recognised Diploma-level qualification and potential wage progression or  career advancement based on performance.

Participating employers can recruit local fresh graduates, within three years of graduation or  the Operationally Ready Date for full-time National Servicemen and prepare them to take up  suitable job roles. The programme is designed in collaboration with industry to ensure  relevance to employers in the sector. Employers can groom and retain talent with the relevant  skills and aptitude to meet the needs of their companies. They will also receive a grant to  defray the costs of developing and providing structure on-the-job-training. 

ITE’s engagement with the industry 

In terms of ITE's involvement with the private sector, its strong engagement with industry can  be seen from: 

  • Over 4000 employers as co-learning partners offering internships and workplace  learning for students; and 
  • Over 200 active industry partnerships for authentic learning, industry & technology  update and capability development. 

For instance, ITE’s partnerships with the private sector are established through the following  programmes:42 

  • Work-Study Diploma 

ITE Work-Study Diplomas is an apprenticeship avenue for companies seeking to  recruit skilled ITE graduates. Under this scheme, the trainees will join the company as  full-time employees while upgrading for their Diploma. They will learn on-the-job at  the workplace and off-the-job in ITE. This enables trainees to link the classroom  training with the hands-on authentic training at the work place. 

  • Traineeship 

Companies can employ trainees under the Traineeship programme for 1 to 2 years  while the trainees upskill and undergo their Nitec or Higher Nitec qualification. This is  an Earn-as-you-Learn programme designed for fresh Secondary School leavers. 

Companies that wish to develop their manpower pipeline could explore the ITE  Traineeship programme, which is an apprenticeship programme designed for  companies seeking to recruit manpower and are willing to invest in the trainees’  upgrading at ITE. Leveraging on ITE’s core strength of learning by doing, ITE trainees  become the company's employees who learn on-the-job at the workplace and off the-job in ITE.  

  • Internship 

With strong support from industry partners, ITE’s internship programme provides  students with opportunities to learn in real work environments and helps them to  better transit into the workplace after their graduation. By participating in the  internship programme, companies can have access to a pool of career-ready ITE  graduates, while developing employees into competent in-house trainers. 

Duration of internship is between 10 to 20 weeks and usually commences in January  or July for Nitec courses and in April or October for Higher Nitec courses. 

  • ITE Certified On-the-Job Training Centres (COJTC)  

ITE Certified On-the-Job Training Centres (COJTC) are accredited for structured OJT  and good OJT Practices to help boost a company’s current on-the-job training (OJT) to  upskill or reskill its employees. This involves working hand-in-hand with the company to develop OJT job blueprints, build team of in-house trainers’ competencies and  enhance the quality of OJT structure. 

  • Approved Training Centres 

If a company has the capability to conduct training based on ITE’s curriculum  requirements and meet ITE’s examination rules and regulations, the company can be  endorsed as an ITE Approved Training Centre (ATC). ATCs are endorsed to conduct ITE  programmes for employees who will receive national ITE certifications on completion.  

  • Skills Assessment Centre 

ITE Skills Assessment Centres (SAC) are authorised to conduct testing and certify the  skills competency required of workers in specific industry sectors. As a SAC, the  company will be allowed to conduct Skills Evaluation Tests (SET) leading to the SET  certificate recognised by the Ministry of Manpower.  

  • Customised Training 

ITE can customise its own training programmes or design new courses to meet the  specific needs of a company. With customised training, the company will enjoy  flexibility in training content, schedule and venue.  

  • Employ ITE Graduates for Full-Time Employment 

As a major education institution which provides training to meet the skilled  manpower needs of industries in Singapore, ITE recognises the importance of  providing assistance and support to graduates in their career development effort.  Hence, assistance is provided to graduates to take up careers which are related to  their areas of training via initiatives such as On-Line Recruitment Service or Career  Talks. 

Current Trends & Practices

Current Trends 

In the wake of industry 4.0, a highly-skilled Singaporean workforce - that is future ready - is  seen as the key contributor in advancing a world-class economy that is diverse, inclusive and  globally competitive. As a result, the Government continues to strengthen and promote  practice-based curricula to give learners real work experiences that will add mileage to their  career progression. To better prepare Singaporean students for the future world of work,  schools have introduced career guidance programmes to help them discover and explore their  strengths and interests. 

 

New Economies 

On the national level, some on-going job market trends include45:  

  • The Green Economy 

Many existing jobs will require green skills, as companies across sectors adopt more  environmentally sustainable practices and develop sustainability targets for  compliance and reporting. While Green Infrastructure and Mobility, and Energy,  Resource Circularity and Decarbonisation are key skills areas that see very high  demand growth, they are dwarfed by skills demand growth in the domain of  Sustainable Finance. On the other hand, skills in the Environmental and  Sustainability Management domain enjoy high transferability. 

  • The Digital Economy 

Riding on the post-COVID-19 wave, Digital Economy jobs and skills continue to see  high demand. In particular, Software Development skills see the highest demand  growth, and also very high transferability. Cloud, Systems and Infrastructure is close  behind in terms of demand growth. On the other hand, E-commerce and Digital  Marketing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data and Analytics register high  transferability in the skills they cover. 

  • The Care Economy 

Preventive care, workplace learning, transformative human resource, learning and  development practices, as well as the importance placed on mental well-being are  driving changes to jobs and skills in the Care Economy. Collaboration with  Stakeholders is a key skills area that sees very high demand growth, while Person centred Care, and Teaching and Learning have the highest transferability in skills.  Demand for Health and Wellness has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic and  are needed by job roles beyond care provision to preventive personal care. 

  • I4.0 in manufacturing sectors 

I4.0 technologies and processes enable manufacturing sectors to increase  productivity and reduce environmental footprints. Engineers and other technical  workers in the manufacturing sectors are increasingly required to possess digital and  green skills. Non-tech job roles such as HR business partners, sales executives and  order fulfilment coordinators will also need to have digital and green skills to stay  relevant. 

  • Mid-career workers 

Mid-career workers, aged 40 to 59, form half of Singapore’s resident workforce and  are well-represented in five job families: (i) Operations and Administration; (ii) Sales,  Marketing and Customer Service; (iii) Human Resource; (iv) Finance and Accounting;  

and (v) Engineering and Technology. As these job families evolve, mid-career  workers will need to upskill to stay relevant within the same job family or to reskill  to move to another. There are pathways that require greater effort in skilling, but  may also yield greater longer-term returns. Mid-career workers will need to assess  their career interests and goals, the skilling intensity that they are comfortable with, and evaluate the affordability of skilling options and the attractiveness of new job  roles. 

  • Critical core skills 

CCS are seeing increasing demand from employers as businesses transform. The top  three most important CCS used at work are Self Management, Influence and  Creative Thinking. Seven work-role archetypes are identified, each with its  distinctive CCS requirements. In general, workplace learning is an effective mode for  developing CCS. 

Reforms/Projects

Next Phase of Development towards an Advanced Economy 

Singapore aims to embark upon the next phase of development towards an advanced  economy and inclusive society. The Future Economy Council (FEC)6 drives the growth and  transformation of Singapore’s economy for the future and foresees five futures for the nation.  These are: 

  • Future Jobs and Skills
  • Future Growth Industries and Markets
  • Future of Connectivity
  • Future City
  • Future Corporate Capabilities and Innovation

FEC will build on the work of the earlier Council for Skills, Innovation and Productivity, which  includes SkillsFuture initiatives and Industry Transformation Maps. TVET in Singapore is  positioned to support the five “Futures”, specifically Futures #1, 2 and 5. 

In line with this, the FEC has set out three key areas of work,13 which are to:

  • Grow a vibrant and open economy that is connected to the world, and where Trade  Association and Chambers (TACs), unions, enterprises and individuals come together  to harness opportunities; 
  • Strengthen the enterprises through industry-specific transformations to help them grow, innovate and scale up; and
  • Help Singaporeans acquire and utilise deep skills so as to take up quality jobs and seize opportunities in the future economy, and facilitate the building of a resilient and flexible workforce and great workplaces.  

The Committee for Future Economy (CFE) was set up in 2016 to identify future global shifts in  the economy and strategies that will prepare Singapore for the challenges in the next lap119.  The FEC, oversees the implementation of the recommendations put forth by the CFE19,32.  Programmes, projects and initiatives are being developed as part of ongoing reforms to  support the achievement of FEC’s goals, as well as implementation of strategies outlined by  the CFE.  

ITM 2025 – Expanding on the ITM initiative34 

As of 30 April 2021, the FEC has spearheaded the launch of 23 Industry Transformation Maps  (ITMs), with good results achieved. Singapore’s overall labour productivity increased by 2.7%  per annum from 2016 to 2019, compared to 2.2% per annum in the preceding three years.  This has translated into the creation of quality jobs and higher wages, with real median income  from the work of full-time Singaporeans increasing by 3.7% per annum for the same period,  compared to 3.2% in the preceding period. 

To address the systemic shifts and seize new opportunities brought about by COVID-19, the  FEC will build on the progress of the past five years, to chart a new way forward for the next  five years, through ITM 2025.  

Under ITM 2025, each of the 23 ITMs will be refreshed, by reviewing the existing ITMs and  updating the sectoral strategies, to meet the accelerated changes arising from the changing  operating environment. The FEC will work closely with our tripartite partners on ITM 2025,  which will be strengthened by three new thrusts.  

  • First, recognising that innovation is and will continue to be critical to the next bound of Singapore’s industry transformation and economic growth.
  • Second, ITM 2025 will build on the work of the Emerging Stronger Taskforce (EST), in forging Singapore’s path towards post-pandemic recovery.
  • Third, ITM 2025 will see a greater focus on jobs and skills, supported by initiatives such as the Next Bound of SkillsFuture. ITM 2025 aims to uplift the productivity and wages of workers, create good jobs for Singaporeans in the years ahead, and prepare  the workforce to take on such roles.  

  

Building on the SkillsFuture Movement59

The Next Bound of SkillsFuture builds on the existing SkillsFuture Movement and continues  to support Singaporeans to develop to their fullest potential throughout life, regardless of  their starting points. 

The Next Bound of SkillsFuture will: 

  1. Enable individuals to continue learning, via a one-off SkillsFuture Credit top-up for  every adult Singaporean; an enhanced MySkillsFuture portal to help individuals  make informed training decisions; and an increased capacity of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes to make it a mainstream pathway. 
  2. Enhance the role of enterprises in developing their workforce, via SkillsFuture  Enterprise Credits (SFEC) to encourage employers to embark on enterprise and  workforce transformation; the Productivity Solutions Grant to include job redesign  consultancy services; partnership with large companies to support training for their  sectors and value chain partners; and deepening workplace learning capabilities  through the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE). 
  3. Have a special focus for mid-career workers through the SkillsFuture Mid-Career  Support Package for locals in their 40s and 50s, to help them stay employable and  move to new jobs or new roles, by Increasing the capacity of reskilling programmes;  using the SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme to support mid-career  individuals in acquiring industry-relevant skills to improve employability and pivot to  new sectors or job roles; granting Additional SkillsFuture Credit to provide Mid Career Support and access to more courses; offering hiring incentives to employers  that hire local jobseekers aged 40 and above; and assembling Volunteer Career  Advisors from professional communities to provide peer-level support and career  guidance to local workers in navigating professional pathways. 

Ongoing Reforms in the Key Economies 

The Green Economy 

The launch of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 in March 2021 has accelerated efforts to green  our shared environment and economy.  

For example, under the Singapore Green Building Masterplan, 80% of buildings will be green  by 2030, attaining an 80% improvement in energy efficiency and consuming super low levels  of energy45(p.9). Other efforts include decarbonising our energy sector; scaling up investments  in water filtration technologies; generating new energy from waste; promoting sustainable  

finance; electrification of vehicles; agriculture technology (agri-tech), and sustainable  tourism. Many of these efforts will require collaboration across public, private and non governmental organisations to scale up the supporting investment and infrastructure. 

Regional collaborations are also crucial to strengthen energy security and supply  diversification. As Asia makes its transition to net zero, Singapore aims to be its centre to  facilitate the global carbon exchange and marketplace become the regional sustainable  aviation fuel (SAF) production hub.45(p.9).  

Emerging Green Economy Domains 

Skills of increasing importance to the Green Economy can be defined in four emerging  domains as follows: 

  • Environmental and Sustainability Management 
  • Energy, Resource Circularity and Decarbonisation 
  • Green Infrastructure and Mobility  
  • Sustainable Finance 

The Environmental and Sustainability Management domain relates to the establishment of  governance and adherence to environmental and sustainability compliance requirements,  sustainability policies, and also to systems and processes to measure, report, verify and  manage environment and sustainability initiatives, programmes and climate mitigation  efforts. 

The Energy, Resource Circularity and Decarbonisation domain involves the skills associated  with the management and maximising of resources through measures to close the resource  loop, the sustainable use of energy, and the mitigation of global warming impacts through the  reduction or elimination of greenhouse gas45(p.10) emissions. 

The Green Infrastructure and Mobility domain includes skills that support the transition  towards a sustainable and eco-friendly built environment, as well as the greening of air, land  and sea transport systems.  

The Sustainable Finance domain focuses on skills that are important for strengthening the  financial ecosystem and providing for its sustainability, especially in relation to regulations,  standards setting (including taxonomy of sustainable activities), financial instruments for  green investments (including green bonds and loans), and the operationalisation of carbon  markets.  

The Digital Economy 

Today, Singapore’s economy is undergoing intensive digitalisation, especially due to the global  effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of digitalisation include the launch of new fully  digital banks, the continued growth of e-commerce, and the enhancement of Singapore’s  digital connectivity through 5G networks. This macro trend will likely continue as Singapore  emerges from the pandemic. 

The government continues to play a significant role in driving whole-of-nation digitalisation.  Under the national Smart Nation initiative45(p.25), the three key pillars are Digital Economy,  Digital Government and Digital Society. Widespread adoption of national digital  infrastructure, especially digital identity system and PayNow, will continue to spur digital  innovations across the board.  

With initiatives such as digital trust R&D centres, sandboxes, cybersecurity training, and data  governance frameworks45(p.25), both the public and private sectors are investing more to make  the digital economy secure and trustable. 

Emerging Digital Economy domains  

The skills that are of increasing importance to the Digital Economy can be grouped into six  emerging domains:

  • AI, Data and Analytics 
  • Cloud, Systems and Infrastructure 
  • Cyber Security and Risk  
  • Software Development 
  • E-commerce and Digital Marketing 
  • Technology Application and Management 

The AI, Data and Analytics domain supports how data-related skills can be used in tech-light areas such as business data analysis and data visualisation, and tech-heavy areas, such as AI application and data engineering.  

The Cloud, Systems and Infrastructure domain is related to the deployment and  administration of cloud infrastructure, database and 5G networks.  

The Cyber Security and Risk domain refers to data and IT management and protection,  security and threat management, and incident and recovery management.  The Software Development domain focuses on technical skills such as software application interface development and customer experience.  

The E-commerce and Digital Marketing domain includes skills related to market research, consumer behaviour insights, product sales and market management, and digital marketing communications.  

Finally, the Technology Application and Management domain focuses on skills that support  the adoption and deployment of technology and help to bridge the “technical push” with the  “operational pull” so that businesses can maximally harness emerging digital technologies to  innovate processes and create new revenue channels. 

The Care Economy 

Healthier SG45(p.41) is an ambitious plan focusing on preventive care to help all Singaporeans  achieve a better quality of life by promoting health, wellness and fitness. The plan will require  the support of technology, data and more care personnel in roles linked to wellness and  fitness promotion. 

  • Under the Job Redesign trial by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), new community  care roles have been piloted with four community care organisations, by blending  various support care functions to uplift the value and attractiveness of the new  roles45(p.41). The Community Care Digital Transformation Plan, seeks to drive  digitalisation, enhance productivity, and job satisfaction in community care  organisations45(p.41)
  • In the education sectors, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is creating  an inclusive preschool education45(p.41), informed by multi-disciplinary experts from  education, health and social sectors.  
  • On the lifelong learning front, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) anticipates a greater  uptake of reskilling and upskilling efforts among the workforce over the next five  years.  

Demand for career/learning counselling and coaching will also rise in a more dynamic labour  market, to help workers translate industry trends and business transformations into tangible  actions, enhancing worker performance or preparing them for career transition.

 

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated change to the nature of work. With the  emergence of remote- or hybrid- working arrangements, companies need to review their  employee engagement approaches and deal with recruitment and retention challenges  Organisations also need to respond effectively to the greater emphasis on employee well 

being, work-life balance, and inclusivity. 

Emerging Care Economy domains 

Skills of increasing importance in the Care Economy are classified into four emerging domains as follows: 

  • Person-centred Care 
  • Collaboration with Stakeholders 
  • Teaching and Learning 
  • Health and Wellness 

The Person-centred Care domain encompasses the skills needed to support effective delivery  of personalised care. These skills support tasks in operational management, client data  management, and service excellence in interaction. 

The Collaboration with Stakeholders domain strengthen care professionals’ partnership  abilities to deliver care services that benefit clients as well as their families and caregivers.  

The Teaching and Learning domain seek to maximise individuals’ performance levels and  realise their potential. Learning specialists and business unit managers need skills to design  and implement workplace learning modes and to effectively engage employees through  career conversations. 

The Health and Wellness domain promotes and develop individuals’ overall health and well being. skills related to preventive care, wellness and fitness promotion, mental resilience and  self-care are needed both within businesses and in the larger community. 

Jobs and skills in Industry 4.0 

Businesses are increasingly turning to I4.0, such as using robots and automation to plug  workforce gaps. This move accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many  industries faced workforce shortages. in Singapore, I4.0 adoption can be seen in the newly  launched fully automated Tuas Port. Besides using unmanned vehicles to transport containers  around the facility, the port has also incorporated the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and  machine learning to handle more complex operations45(p.57).  

In the area of food production, SATS, which is Asia’s largest food solutions and gateway  service, is also establishing a network of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology at its new food  hub that will aid in planning, raising asset utilisation, automating the production of meals and  cutting food waste.45(p.57)

I4.0 is also a critical enabler to Singapore’s Manufacturing 203045(p.58) plan to grow the  manufacturing sector by 50% before 2030. I4.0 implementation can help manufacturing  companies increase productivity by reducing downtime and maintenance costs, increasing  energy and resource efficiency, and driving innovation. To do so, the workforce will need to  be equipped with skills to implement I4.0.

Key Issues & Challenges

Changing Skills Demand 

According to renowned recruitment firm Robert Walters in 2021, with the increasing scarcity  of professionals with skill sets in fields such as technology, automation and analytics, salaries  in these areas are expected to “increase significantly” due to talent shortage.43 

This trend was much anticipated in 2020, when the CET Masterplan 2020 was outlined in two  important areas -- workforce of the future as well as emerging and growth industries. For the  former, nearly 60% of our resident workforce would have had at least a diploma qualification  by 2020, compared to 36% in 2007. For the latter, Singaporeans would have been equipped  with the skills for job opportunities in new growth industries, whether they are preparing for  new jobs, switching careers or acquiring new skills for their jobs.36

Challenges in TVET 

Some challenges of maintaining the highest levels of effective Technical and Vocational  Education and Training (TVET) in Singapore amid sustainability priorities include: 

  • An Increasingly Uncertain Economic Landscape  

The future economy is volatile and uncertain. Millions of people will be joining the  global marketplace, and technology is driving rapid change. It will be challenging to  remain relevant in an increasingly uncertain landscape.  

The opportunity to overcome this challenge: Our 21st Century Competencies  Framework focuses on ensuring that the next generation continues to be highly skilled, flexible, and adaptable. In addition, the mindset shift among employees and  employers to continuously acquire and hone their skills to enhance their work readiness is central to the SkillsFuture effort. This will drive and sustain Singapore’s  next phase of development as an advanced economy and inclusive society. 

  • Widening Social Gaps 

The widening income gap and growing inequality in society may pose an obstacle to  ensuring that our educational system continues to allow for high social mobility. 

The opportunity to overcome this challenge: Education as a Social Leveller  Our education system continues to provide opportunities for all regardless of their  starting point in life. It is aimed at ensuring that society is inclusive by providing  opportunities for children from different backgrounds to grow up together. We  remain committed to providing quality, affordable, and accessible education so that  no Singaporean student is disadvantaged because of their financial circumstances.  For instance, education is highly subsidised and a range of financial assistance  schemes are available to students in need. 

  • A Historical Over-emphasis on Academic Grades

The over-emphasis on academic grades comes at the expense of non-academic  interests. 

The opportunity to overcome this challenge: The Singapore government introduced  the Programme for Active Learning in primary schools, and increased the emphasis  on non-academic subjects such as Physical Education, Arts, and Music. MOE is also  

broadening the scoring system for the Primary School Leaving Examination. The use  of broader scoring bands will reduce the overly fine differentiation of students at a  young age based on examination scores, and provide space to educate and develop  students more holistically. 

Challenges in reskilling and upskilling the workforce 

According to Education Minister, Chan Chun Sing54, one great challenge is enabling working  adults to manage their commitment for reskilling and upskilling. To help them along,  outreach efforts to help them navigate the training ecosystem are set up or improved,  including personalised skills advisory services.  

Strategies are also implemented to complement these efforts: 

  • Articulating companies' demand: A challenge is fleshing out skillsets required for  the future, which is not an easy task for companies. The government, SSG, trade  associations and chambers and unions will take the lead in articulating future skills  required (as exemplified by the Demand for the Future Economy report45), and  human resource teams will indicate these skillsets in their hiring processes. Thus,  the focus on skills and competencies is emphasised, rather than formal qualifications  of a candidate. 
  • Aggregating demand in different sectors: the challenge lies in identifying and  collating the demand for skills across different sectors. Therefore, trade associations  and chambers are tasked to act as intermediary between the Government and  employers.  
  • Activating a supply of skills through quality training: the challenge is how to  implement quality training for workers. By supporting and engaging SMEs to identify  skills they need, job dissemination and skills insights could be set in motion, thereby  setting up structures that accredit skills acquired at the workplace. 

Sustainability Challenges  

Under ITM 2025, MAS has set aside S$100 million in grant funding over the next five years to  support capacity building, new financing solutions, and talent development67 as Singapore  strives towards reaching UN's sustainable development goals,70 such as adapting to climate  change and re-looking at healthcare system. 

The sustainability challenges pertinent to Singapore include69:  

  • Aging population; 
  • Water constraints: demand for water would rise by 2x by 2060; 
  • Land shortage: dilemma between preserving heritage sites and re-developing sites;  Semakau landfills to run out of space; 
  • Increased emissions;
  • Compromising biodiversity due to continued developments. 

To counter these challenges, Singapore focuses on three core principles for sustainable  developments69:  

  • Recognition that certain trade-offs are essential while balancing competing demands;
  • Long-term and holistic planning without succumbing to quick fixes;
  • Awareness that decisions will impact on others.
Acronyms/Abbreviations
A-Level Advanced Level
ACTEP Advanced Certificate in Technical Education Programme
AWWA Asian Women’s Welfare Association
CDC Community Development Council
CE Compulsory Education
CET Continuing Education and Training
CFE Committee on the Future Economy
CoC Certificate of Competency
CPE Committee for Private Education (previously known as Council for Private Education)
DFP Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme
e2i Employment and Employability Institute
ECG Education and Career Guidance
ELP  Earn and Learn Programme
ERP External Review Panel
EV External Validation
FEC      Future Economy Council
GCE General Certificate of Education
GCE ‘N(A)’ Level General Certificate of Education ‘Normal (Academic)’ Level
GCE ‘N(T)’ Level General Certificate of Education ‘Normal (Technical)’ Level
Higher Nitec Higher National ITE Certificate
IAL Institute for Adult Learning
ICT Information and Communications Technology (also known as Infocomm Technology)
IHL Institution of Higher Learning
IQAF ITE Quality Assurance Framework
ISAR Institutional Self-Assessment Report
ISC ITE Skills Certificate
ITE Institute of Technical Education
ITM Industry Transformation Map
LOC Letter of Collaboration
MER Minimum Entry Requirement
MOE Ministry of Education
MOI Memorandum of Intent
MOM Ministry of Manpower
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
MRO Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul
MTI Ministry of Trade and Industry
N-Level Normal Level
Nitec National ITE Certificate
NP Ngee Ann Polytechnic
NS  National Service
NTUC National Trade Unions Congress
NYP Nanyang Polytechnic
O-Level Ordinary Level
PET  Pre-employment Training
PFP Polytechnic Foundation Programme
PQAF Polytechnic Quality Assurance Framework
PSEI Post-Secondary Educational Institution
PSLE Primary School Leaving Examination
QAF Quality Assurance Framework
QAFU Quality Assurance Framework for Universities
RP    Republic Polytechnic
SF  Skills Framework
SP    Singapore Polytechnic
SSEC Singapore Standard Education Classification
SSG    SkillsFuture Singapore
SUSS Singapore University of Social Sciences
TACs    Trade Associations and Chambers
TP  Temasek Polytechnic
TVET Technical and Vocational Education and Training
VITB  Vocational & Industrial Training Board
WLTD  Work-Learn Technical Diploma
WSG    Workforce Singapore
WSQ Workforce Skills Qualifications

 

References

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[34] Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI). (2021). Future Economy Council (FEC) welcomes new members, embarks on ITM 2025 to refresh ITMs and develop new strategies for a post-Covid-19 world. Retrieved from https://www.mti.gov.sg/-/media/MTI/Newsroom/Press- Releases/2021/04/FEC-Press-Release-30-April-2021.pdf [Accessed 11 Nov. 2022].

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[36] Ministry of Manpower (MOM). (2020). Factsheet on CET Masterplan [Factsheet]. https://www.mom.gov.sg/-/media/mom/documents/speeches/2008/factsheet-for-continuing-education-and-training-masterplan.pdf [Accessed 16 Nov. 2022].

[37] Skills Framework: Which are the Sectors? (n.d.). SkillsFuture. Retrieved from https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/skills-framework#whicharethesectors [Accessed 9 Nov. 2022].

[38] MOM (Ministry of Manpower Singapore). (2016, January 12). New Statutory Boards to Sharpen Focus on Skills and Employment [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/press-releases/2016/0112-new-statutory-boards-to-sharpen-focus-on-skills-and-employment [Accessed 9 Nov. 2022].

[39] Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ). (n.d.). SkillsFuture SG. Retrieved from https://www.ssg.gov.sg/wsq.html [Accessed 9 Nov. 2022].

[40] Enterprise Singapore (2018). Trailblazer in Career and Technical Education. Retrieved from https://www.enterprisesg.gov.sg/-/media/esg/files/quality-and-standards/business-excellence/SQASC_ITE_2018_summary_report.pdf [Accessed 9 Nov. 2022].

[41] Foo, M. (2017). Overview of Skills Framework Development Workgroup (SFDW) & Skills Framework (SF). Introductory Meeting with D/CEO, ITE 2 March 2017 [Powerpoint slides].

[42] Institute of Technical Education (2022). Employers: Workplace Learning, Workforce Agility. Retrieved from https://www.ite.edu.sg/employers [Accessed 9 Nov. 2022].

[43] Awang, Nabilah. (2021, December 6). 3 in 5 people want employer’s values to align with their own: Survey. Retrieved from https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/3-5-professionals-want- employers-values-align-their-own-survey [Accessed 16 Nov. 2022].

[44] MOE (Ministry of Education Singapore). (2022). Singapore Yearbook Of Manpower Statistics 2022: Training and Higher Education Table(s). Retrieved from https://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Singapore-Yearbook-Of-Manpower-Statistics-2022-Training- and-Higher-Education.aspx [Accessed 16 Nov. 2022].

[45] SkillsFuture Singapore. (2022). Skills Demand For the Future Economy 2022. Singapore: SkillsFuture Singapore. Retrieved from:https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/skillsreport [Accessed on 5 Dec. 2022]

[46] Institute of Technical Education (n.d.). Full-time Nitec & 3-Year Higher Nitec Courses: For GCE N & O students. Retrieved from: https://www.ite.edu.sg/courses/full-time-courses/nitec-and-3-year- higher-nitec [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[47] Ang, Hwee Min (2020, August 25). SkillsFuture work-study programmes to become ‘mainstream pathway’ by 2025, benefit more students: Lawrence Wong. Retrieved from ChannelNewsAsia: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/moe-skillsfuture-work-study-programmes-lawrence- wong-631106 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[48] SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes. (n.d.). SkillsFuture. Retrieved from https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/workstudy [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[49] Institute of Technical Education (n.d.). Work-Study Diploma. Retrieved from: https://www.ite.edu.sg/courses/work-study-diploma [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[50] SkillsFuture Work-Study Diploma. (n.d.). SkillsFuture. Retrieved from https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/wsdip [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[51] National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) (2022). About NCCS. Retrieved from: https://www.nccs.gov.sg/who-we-are/about-nccs/ [Accessed on 27 Nov. 2022].

[52] Ministry of Sustainability and Environment (2022). Singapore Green Plan. Retrieved from: https://www.greenplan.gov.sg/ [Accessed on 27 Nov. 2022].

[53] Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore (2022). Centre for Liveable Cities. Retrieved from https://www.clc.gov.sg/ [Accessed on 13 Mar. 2023].

[54] Ng, Wei Kai (2022, July 5). SkillsFuture funding framework to focus on courses relevant to industry. Retrieved from The Straits Times: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/jobs/skillsfuture-funding-framework-to-focus-on-courses- relevant-to-industry [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

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[56] MOE (Ministry of Education). (2021). Higher Nitec Certification - Enhanced Three-Year Curricular Structure for ITE Students from AY2022 [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://www.moe.gov.sg/news/press-releases/20210430-higher-nitec-certification-enhanced- three-year-curricular-structure-for-ite-students-from-ay2022 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[57] Institute of Technical Education (2022). Corporate Slides: Welcome to Institute of Technical Education [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from Intranet: https://connectiteedu.sharepoint.com/:p:/t/CA/EaC4hDGA6c5MiQL6G4gOMJYBb9yPMSD680DFbKLoHrPodQ?e=4%3APQ2l73&at=9 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[58]  Ministry of Education (Singapore) (2023). Higher Education Group. Retrieved from: https://www.moe.gov.sg/about-us/organisation-structure/heg

[59] The Next Bound of SkillsFuture. (n.d.). SkillsFuture. Retrieved from https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/nextbound [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[60] Funding and Accreditation. [n.d.]. SkillsFuture SG & Workforce Singapore. Retrieved from https://www.ssg-wsg.gov.sg/for-training-providers/funding-accreditation.html [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[61] SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) Funding. (n.d.). Social Service Institute. Retrieved from https://www.ssi.gov.sg/training/funding-information/skillsfuture-singapore-funding/

[62] Workfare Skills Support (WSS) Scheme. (n.d.). SkillsFuture SG & Workforce Singapore Retrieved from https://www.wsg.gov.sg/programmes-and-initiatives/workfare-skills-support-scheme- individuals.html [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

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[64] SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy. (n.d.). SkillsFuture SG. Retrieved from https://www.skillsfuture.gov.sg/enhancedsubsidy [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

[65] [SSG CIRCULAR/PPD/2022/14] Adjustment of Criteria for Courses to be Funded at 70% (i.e., Tier 1). (n.d.). SkillsFuture SG. Retrieved from: https://www.tpgateway.gov.sg/resources/announcements-and-circulars/ssg-circular-ppd-2022-14- adjustment-of-criteria-for-courses-to-be-funded-at-70-(i.e.-tier-1) [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

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[67] MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore). (2021). Remarks by Mr Leong Sing Chiong, Deputy Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore, at the Official Opening Ceremony of the FM Global Centre on 8 November 2022. Retrieved from https://www.mas.gov.sg/news/speeches/2022/remarks-by-mr-leong-sing-chiong-deputy- managing-director-monetary-authority-of-singapore-at-the-official-opening-ceremony-of-the-fm- global-centre-on-8-november-2022 [Accessed 13 Jan. 2023].

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SEA-VET.NET would like to thank Dr. Theresa THANG Tze Yian (Project Director/Learning Systems – Educational Design & Technology Division, ITE), Ms. Loh Hui Hong (Head/Reference Services, Library & Information Services, Educational Design &  Technology Division, ITE) and Ms. Razia Sultanah (Head/Reference Services 2/College East Library, ITE) for contributing to the profile.

  • Population

    5,453,566(2021)a
    population

  • Sex Ratio

    0.96 male(s)/female (2022)c

  • HDI

    0.939 (2021)h

  • GDP (Total)

    US$396.99 billion (2021)a

  • GDP (Per Capita)

    US$72,794 (2021)a

  • Industry/Sectors (GDP Contribution)

    Manufacturing: 22.3% (2021)e
    Wholesale trade: 17.9% (2021)e
    Finance and Insurance: 14.6% (2021)e
    Other services industries 10.5% (2021)e
    Transportation and storage 6.1% (2021)e
    Professional services 5.8% (2021)e
    Information and comms 5.6% (2021)e
    Ownership of dwellings 3.8% (2021)e
    Admin and support services 3.6% (2021)e
    Construction 2.9% (2021)e
    Real Estate 2.9% (2021)e
    Retail Trade 1.4% (2021)e
    Utilities 1.2% (2021)e
    Food and beverages 0.9% (2021)e
    Accommodation 0.5% (2021)e
    Industry: 24.8%e
    Services: 75.2% (2017 est.)e

  • Poverty Rate

    % NA


Education

  • Education Index

    0.823 (2018)i

  • Adult Literacy Rate
    (% Ages 15 and Older)

    97 (2020)b

  • Expected Years of Schooling

    16.3 (2020)d

  • Mean Years of Schooling (Adults)

    11.5 (2020)d

  • School Dropout Rate

    % NA


Employment

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