Many people have no clue how to use their SkillsFuture credits or can’t find anything useful that they can sign up for, and some end up spending them on Korean language or cooking classes.
Before you go and use your $500 worth of SkillsFuture credits on a flower arrangement course, know that there are some skills that many of us should be upgrading no matter what we do for a living.
Based on the initiatives presented in Budget 2017, it is clear that they are some key areas the government has decided SMEs need help in. Here’s how Singaporeans can upgrade their skills to take advantage of them.
Based on the number of people walking around with their eyes glued to their smartphone, Singaporeans are a tech savvy bunch.
Apparently, the same can’t be said for SMEs, as the government has seen fit to boost their digital capabilities with the SMEs Go Digital Programme.
The programme aims to offer businesses advice on how they can harness technology to grow and raise productivity, connect them with the resources they need to obtain and use technology solutions, and help those SMEs who wish to pilot their own ICT solutions to get hold of the support they need.
What this means is that employees who have the tech or ICT know-how to work in these newly-digitised companies will be in demand, while those who aren’t able to adapt could well fall by the wayside.
To cite an example, one of the sectors targeted by the SMEs Go Digital Programme is retail. Retailers are now, more than ever, using digital channels to promote and sell their products, as well as to enhance the customer experience. You can no longer claim to be a retail or marketing professional without knowing how to work with digital channels like online stores, social media accounts and mobile applications.
Read up on how your industry is evolving thanks to digitisation, and then use your SkillsFuture credits to plug the gaps. For instance, a logistics professional might want to understand how digital products are managed in the supply chain, while those in wholesale trade will need to become proficient in ecommerce.
Project and process management
Productivity has been a big buzzword in recent years. Employees are already working as long and as hard as they can, yet productivity growth remains sluggish. In fact, part of the motivation behind the SMEs Go Digital Programme is the hope that productivity can be raised through technology.
As the economy gets tougher, businesses will need to really dig their heels in and raise productivity in order to stay profitable.
Project management or process management skills are very useful for those employees who wish to make the transition to managerial posts, or existing managers who want to expand their knowledge in certain areas.
But more importantly, as SMEs go digital, there will be a need for effective project managers who are able to work with these new technologies and help their teams harness them to boost productivity.
Singapore is too small of a pond, and for local SMEs to reach their full potential, internationalisation is often necessary. In Budget 2017, the government announced that it will be doing more to help businesses scale up and enter overseas markets.
The International Partnership Fund will offer co-financing for Singapore companies wishing to expand, while the existing Internationalisation Finance Scheme with be beefed up to make it easier for local companies to get financing for their expansion plans.
What this means for Singaporeans is that familiarity with overseas markets and international exposure will soon be an even more highly-prized asset, especially in China and emerging markets like Vietnam and Indonesia.
Other than taking on overseas job postings and internships wherever possible, Singaporeans can also concentrate on honing their language skills, familiarising themselves with the way things are done in other jurisdictions and learning how their jobs can be done on a global scale (eg. learning about global sourcing or supply chain management). Other skills like inter-cultural communication and international business are also useful.
If nothing else, this might convince you to use your SkillsFuture credits to perfect your Mandarin or pick up Bahasa Indonesia rather than go for those Korean classes.
What are you planning to use your SkillsFuture credits for? Tell us in the comments!