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SkillsFuture Council Begins Work: Driving National Effort to Develop Skills for the Future

5 November 2014

  1. The SkillsFuture Council, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam, held its first meeting today. The Council will develop an integrated system of education, training and career progression for all Singaporeans, promote industry support for individuals to advance based on skills, and foster a culture of lifelong learning. The formation of the Council was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at this year’s National Day Rally.
  2. DPM Tharman said, "Our future must be about mastery of skills, in every job, and enabling every Singaporean to develop themselves to the fullest. We are going to put full effort into this, and it involves everyone - Government, employers, unions and all of us as individuals."
  3. At its first meeting, the Council decided on four thrusts to drive this national effort:

    i. Help individuals to make well-informed choices in education, training and careers

    • The Council will guide the development of a full system of guidance to help individuals make choices in education, training and their careers, starting from educational counselling in schools and extending throughout a person’s working life. It will foster collaboration between the Government, industry, and institutions, to provide individuals with exposure to a wide range of occupations and industries from young, and ongoing information on the changing needs of the labour market.

    ii. Develop an integrated, high-quality system of education and training that responds to constantly evolving industry needs

    • The Council will review education and training to ensure that a sound and broad-based education for the young is complemented with a full menu of the continuous learning options, including opportunities to develop new specialisations. A panel of leaders from educational and training institutions will be appointed to support the Council in this effort.

    iii. Promote employer recognition and career development based on skills and mastery

    • The Council will work with employers to design and implement a framework to enable individuals to advance by climbing skill ladders. Panels led by employers, and supported by unions and government agencies, will be appointed in each sector to develop this framework.

    iv. Foster a culture that supports and celebrates lifelong learning

    • This will involve a long-term effort to respect every job for its skills, and value the achievements of individuals who attain mastery in their own fields. It will also promote the habit of learning throughout life, for work as well as for interest. The SkillsFuture Council will be supported by the community-led Lifelong Learning Council1, which will promote practical ways to advance this culture.
  4. Members of the high-level SkillsFuture Council include representatives from the government, industry, unions and employers, and educational and training institutions (see list of members in Annex). The members of the inaugural term of the Council have been appointed for two years.
  5. The Council will take forward the key recommendations under both the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) and the Continuing Education and Training Masterplan (CET) 2020 (see illustration below). The Council will develop and drive initiatives to ensure an integrated system of learning, pre- and post-employment, for all Singaporeans. It will be a major, long term effort involving collaboration with all stakeholders, including employers, training providers, unions and individuals.


    Changes to National Productivity and Continuing Education Council
  6. The National Productivity and Continuing Education Council (NPCEC) was formed in April 2010 to oversee and drive national productivity efforts as well as develop a comprehensive first-class national CET system. With the formation of the SkillsFuture Council, the oversight of CET will be devolved from NPCEC to this new Council with effect from 1 November 2014. The NPCEC will be renamed as the National Productivity Council (NPC) to reflect its redefined scope. The NPC will continue to promote and support industry upgrading for higher productivity, including the development of industry-wide platforms to support business productivity. While skills advancement and industry upgrading complement each other strongly, they will each receive focused attention and energy through the work of the SkillsFuture Council and NPC respectively.

Factsheet on SkillsFuture

1 The Lifelong Learning Council has been set up by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) on 16 September 2014. The community-led Council aims to help Singaporeans view learning as a lifelong journey and to remain passionate about learning. For more information, please see the release on WDA's website.