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Written Answer by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister for Manpower & Senior Minister of State, National Development, to Parliamentary Question on the Continuing Education and Training (CET) programme

Notice Paper No. 302 of 2013 For The Sitting On 12 Aug 2013
Question No. 582 For Written Answer

MP: Mr David Ong Kim Huat

To ask the Acting Minister for Manpower (a) what is the number of Singaporeans who have benefited from the national Continuing Education and Training (CET) programme; (b) whether there is any finite number of training places in a year; and (c) how does the Ministry ensure that Singaporean workers are given the priority to take advantage of CET.


  1. The provision of sufficient, relevant and quality training opportunities for our workforce is a guiding principle for the development of our CET system. Currently, there are over 8,000 certifiable courses funded by WDA and MOE. In 2012, WDA and MOE supported close to 300,000 individuals in their CET courses.
  2. Demand for CET programmes is dependent on many factors such as the economic and labour market climate, employers’ willingness to send workers for training and individuals’ commitment to undertake training. In planning for CET capacity, MOM/WDA and MOE considers these factors and consults various stakeholders, for example, the economic agencies, industry players, employers and training providers. Information on CET take-up trends, industry skills needs, skills gaps and job opportunities also feed into the planning process. There are sufficient training places to cater to the general workforce. We will continue to work with relevant training providers to scale up or down the training capacity, where necessary.
  3. Developing and nurturing our people has always been one of the Government’s core areas of focus. Our CET focus is extensive in scope and breadth. It complements our education system. In the past few years, besides ensuring that CET remains affordable and accessible to locals, we have launched dedicated CET programmes for Singaporeans to meet their training needs and career development. For example, under the Skills Training for Excellence Programme (STEP) which was introduced to better support the CET needs of Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs), several scholarships are set aside for Singaporeans. To uplift our Singaporean lower-wage workers, there is also the Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme to provide them with the highest level of course fee funding at 95%. The CET Qualification Award (CQA) is also awarded to only Singaporeans to encourage them to attain their first full qualification1.
  4. While we are heartened to see many Singaporeans taking up CET, we recognise that our CET system cannot stay still. Our CET system must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of industries and the changing preferences and aspirations of the workforce.
  5. My Ministry recently held Our Singapore Conversation (OSC) engagement sessions with members of public on the topic of Lifelong Learning – CET. During those discussions, we received useful feedback from Singaporeans on how we could further improve the CET system to better meet their needs. We will give careful consideration to the feedback as we constantly review our policies and look for ways to enhance our CET system to better meet the needs of both the current and the future workforce.

1 The first full qualification can be via the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) training, part-time NITEC / Higher NITEC courses by the Institute of Technical Education, and part-time Diploma courses by the Polytechnics.