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New Statutory Boards to Sharpen Focus on Skills and Employment

The Government will reorganise its functions for effective implementation of two key priorities: the national SkillsFuture initiative and the need to ensure competitiveness and quality jobs for Singaporeans over the long term.

  1. A new statutory board under the Ministry of Education (MOE), SkillsFuture Singapore1 (SSG), will be formed to drive and coordinate the implementation of SkillsFuture. It will take over some of the functions currently performed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and absorb the Council for Private Education (CPE), an existing statutory board under MOE.
  2. At the same time, WDA will be reconstituted into a new statutory board, Workforce Singapore2 (WSG), focused on jobs and ensuring enterprises can become manpower-lean while remaining competitive. The new statutory board will remain under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).
  3. The changes will hence involve a reorganisation within Government rather than increase the overall number of statutory boards. The reorganisation will require changes to existing laws and will have to undergo Parliamentary legislative processes. In the meantime, WDA and CPE will continue to perform their statutory functions until the new statutory boards have been established. Subject to the completion of the necessary legislative processes, the new statutory boards are expected to be established by the end of 2016.

    SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG)
  4. SSG’s mission will be to drive and coordinate SkillsFuture, and promote a culture of lifelong learning in Singapore. It will maximise synergies between pre-employment (PET) and continuing education and training (CET). SSG will work with educational institutions and training partners to build a vibrant landscape of high-quality, industry-relevant training. SSG will also work closely with industry to ensure its skill requirements are met, in coordination with other government agencies.
  5. With SSG under MOE, the Government can better leverage the strengths of the Institutes of Higher Learning – ITE, polytechnics, and universities – as well as private training providers to move SkillsFuture efforts forward as part of a holistic system of life-long learning. Another key objective better served by the new organisational structure will be to achieve greater inter-operability between the vocational, academic, and adult training qualification systems. This will allow for a consistent way in which credentials can be recognised under different qualification frameworks for the purposes of academic and career advancement. As lifelong learning becomes more modular, flexible, and continuous, the lines between PET and CET will eventually become indistinct.
  6. In addition, CPE, which regulates the private education industry, will be integrated into SSG. Today, many private education institutions regulated by CPE are also providers of adult training overseen by WDA. Having all these functions come under SSG will give the statutory board a holistic view of the adult education and training industry. SSG will be ready to undertake a more coordinated approach towards audits and quality assurance for the private education institutions and adult training centres.

    Workforce Singapore (WSG)
  7. WSG’s key mission will be to help Singaporeans take on quality jobs and careers. In particular, it will seek to strengthen the Singaporean core and promote the development, competitiveness, and employability of the Singapore workforce, with good matching of manpower supply with industry demand. It will support and assist Singaporeans seeking employment. It will also help enterprises become more manpower-lean. WSG will undertake WDA’s current work on employment facilitation, career services, and industry engagement. It will drive efforts to help Singaporeans assume quality jobs and careers, while addressing industry manpower needs.
  8. Notwithstanding the reorganisation, the SkillsFuture movement will continue to be a multi-agency effort within Government and involve all the tripartite partners. MOE, MOM, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), and other agencies will work alongside SSG and WSG to ensure effective implementation of SkillsFuture initiatives.
  9. “This reorganisation within Government will enable each organisation to focus with all its energy on its key mission, which are each our important priorities for the future: SkillsFuture and quality jobs for Singaporeans. ‘SkillsFuture Singapore’ will foster a culture of lifelong learning, and help to integrate a whole system of education and training through life. ‘Workforce Singapore’ will be MOM’s agent in developing a strong Singaporean core in each sector of our economy, and help companies to be manpower-lean while remaining competitive,” said Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister & Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies.
  10. ‘Workforce Singapore’ will sharpen Government’s focus on helping Singaporeans meet their career aspirations. It will also support MOM in tackling manpower challenges as we transform our economy to be future-ready. With its greater focus on job placements, career services, and industry workforce development, ‘Workforce Singapore’ will help Singaporeans at all job levels to have better employment outcomes, and companies to better address their manpower needs,” said Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister for Manpower.
  11. “WDA was established in 2003 to promote lifelong learning and make our workforce resilient and competitive. I was appointed as its second CEO in 2005. The team then did great work to build up the adult training infrastructure. More than a decade later, what WDA has done laid the foundation for SkillsFuture, which is a broader national priority and the next phase of lifelong learning. The team in WDA will continue this work, albeit under a different structure, as ‘SkillsFuture Singapore’ and ‘Workforce Singapore’. I thank all the WDA officers who have participated in the journey so far and look forward to working with all of you again,” said Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).

1 Tentative name.

2 Tentative name.