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Two new statutory boards to be formed for skills and employment

The SkillsFuture Singapore statutory board will take over some of the functions of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, which will be reconstituted into a new statutory board called Workforce Singapore.

Office workers at Raffles Place in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman) SINGAPORE: Two new statutory boards will be formed to drive the national SkillsFuture initiative and to ensure competitiveness and quality jobs for Singaporeans.

The SkillsFuture Singapore statutory board, under the Ministry of Education (MOE), will take over some of the functions currently performed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and absorb the Council for Private Education (CPE) statutory board.

"One of the underlying philosophies about SkillsFuture is really for skills mastery, and to cultivate a mindset and attitude of lifelong learning," said chairperson of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Education Denise Phua. "So unless that is established since young, I don't think it's going to happen."

"People are not just going to grow up and suddenly become these self-driven adult learners. So I think having MOE emphasising lifelong learning, teaching people to learn, and establishing the right pedagogy and content and delivery right from the start at a young age to cultivate a love for learning, self-driven learning ... (is) really useful," she added.

At the same time, WDA will be reconstituted into a new statutory board called Workforce Singapore, 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).

In response to media queries, chairperson for the GPC for Manpower Patrick Tay said that with possibly slower employment growth and economic uncertainties, there is a greater impetus to help facilitate employment for Singaporeans.

He added that it is also important to focus on the employment of mature workers due to the ageing workforce.

The changes, which require amendments to existing laws and will have to go through the Parliament, will involve a "reorganisation within the Government" rather than increase the overall number of statutory boards, MOE and MOM said in a joint media release.

The statutory boards are expected to be established by the end of this year, subject to the completion of the necessary legislative processes, the ministries said, adding that WDA and CPE will continue to perform their statutory functions in the meantime.

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, said the reorganisation will enable each organisation to focus on its key mission and Singapore’s 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,” he said.

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