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    Jan 14, 2016

    Minister: SkillsFuture under MOE to instil life-long learning

    BRINGING all things SkillsFuture under the Ministry of Education (MOE) will change mindsets towards training and lifelong learning, said Acting Education Minister Ong Ye Kung yesterday.

    The new head of SkillsFuture said the change will allow the Government to pursue skills development in a "more holistic and coherent fashion", gradually erasing the lines between learning done in school and training during employment.

    He said: "Education and lifelong learning will be integrated as one. This will make us look at education differently - that it is no longer just confined to schools and institutes of higher learning, but is a lifelong pursuit of mastery and excellence."

    He was speaking at a Ngee Ann Polytechnic event at which a memorandum of understanding was signed to enhance student internships and post- graduate diplomas.

    It was his first public appearance after being introduced as the new leader of SkillsFuture.

    Two new statutory boards, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG), were announced on Tuesday.

    SSG will coordinate the drive for deeper skills and comes under MOE.

    WSG, under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), will focus on jobs and enterprises.

    SkillsFuture previously straddled the two ministries while it was run by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

    Mr Ong said the change will entail getting different qualification systems recognised across academic and work skills domains, as well as a more holistic auditing and regulation system for both the private education and training sectors.

    He said WDA's major achievement in the last decade was to make training "second nature" to workers, where previously they had just gone into the labour market looking for the next job with better pay.

    He added that moving forward, the new boards' first concern is to settle human resource issues and allay staff's concerns. He said that there would be no change in staff headcount following the change.

    He also yesterday announced more SkillsFuture initiatives for the power engineering sector, such as enhanced internships and Earn-and-Learn programmes.

    At the event, 17 companies - including Singapore Power, Sembcorp Design and Construction and SBS Transit - signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with three polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education.

    Under the MOU, more than 800 students will embark on six-month enhanced internships in the sector from next March.