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Guide to Mid-Career Switch: Courses And Subsidies in Singapore

by | Nov 11, 2023

Embracing a mid-career switch can often feel like a mix of excitement and fear. It’s a bold step, full of potential yet shrouded with uncertainty. In the prime of your professional life, the thought of starting anew or steering your career in a different direction can indeed be daunting. You may ponder the risks of leaving a familiar shore for the unknown or worry about the investment of time and resources without the guarantee of immediate returns.

Singapore, with its ever-changing skyline and relentless pace, mirrors the journey of a mid-career switch. It’s a nation that constantly adapts and evolves, encouraging its citizens to do the same. As daunting as the prospect may seem, Singapore offers a robust support system in the form of numerous courses and subsidies, designed to ease the transition for mid-career professionals. These resources are not just lifelines but powerful catalysts for change, ensuring that the mid-career leap is not a leap of faith, but a well-supported stride towards growth and opportunity.

There are different options available for Singaporeans looking to do a career switch, such as upskilling in your current industry, or reskilling to a completely different one. We understand that it might be confusing to find out what courses and subsidies are available, so here is a guide to the courses and subsidies that are available in Singapore.

1. SkillsFuture

2. SGUnited

3. Workforce Singapore

SkillsFuture

Singapore’s relentless march towards economic excellence is powered by its most crucial asset: a skilled and adaptable workforce. In recognition of this, the government has rolled out an array of subsidy schemes, with SkillsFuture being the flagship initiative. These programs are not mere incentives; they are the fuel that powers the engine of the workforce’s continuous evolution. Let’s dive into different schemes that are available under SkillsFuture.

SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme (SCTP)

The SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme (SCTP) supports mid-career individuals in acquiring industry-relevant skills to improve employability and pivot to new sectors or job roles. It is a train-and-place programme that is available on a part-time or full-time format, ranging from three to 12 months. It will be delivered by Continuing Education and Training (CET) Centres and can expect to receive employment facilitation support on top of training.

The courses will be progressively rolled out from April 2022 to 2025, where there will be an expected number of 200 courses in total.

Individuals considering taking up these courses can expect to enjoy these following subsidies: 

  • Tapping into your Skillsfuture credits to pay for these courses 
  • Baseline subsidy of up to 70% of course fees
  • Enhanced funding subsidy of up to 90% of course fees for Singapore Citizens aged 40 years old and above under SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy
  • Additional course fee funding support of up to 95% of course fees for jobseekers with greater needs. Individuals must be Singapore Citizens and meet one of following eligibility criteria:
    • Be unemployed for six months or more 
    • Be in need of financial assistance; i.e. recipients of ComCare, Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA), or Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) 
    • Persons with Disabilities

SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy

The SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy is designed to give Singaporeans aged 40 and above a chance to navigate the competitive job market. It recognises that mid-career Singaporeans may face greater challenges in undertaking training, and provides additional subsidies to encourage you to upskill and reskill to adapt to changing job requirements.

Subsidies available are: 

  • Up to 90% of course fees for SSG-supported courses
  • At least 90% of programme cost for MOE-subsidised full-time and part-time courses from the following universities:
    • Autonomous Universities (NUS, NTU, SMU, SUTD, SIT and SUSS)
    • Polytechnics
    • Institute of Technical Education
    • LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts
    • National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC)

Individuals must qualify for the MOE/SSG base course fee subsidy in order to be eligible for the enhanced rates under the SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy.

Skillsfuture Mid-Career Support Package

The SkillsFuture Mid-Career Support Package aims to assist in helping individuals in their 40s to 50s create more career transition opportunities. This includes a special SkillsFuture Credit top-up of $500 for individuals aged 40 to 60 to fray cost fees. Eligible individuals can use the Additional SkillsFuture Credit (Mid-Career Support) for SkillsFuture Career Transition Programmes.

SGUnited

In the resilient island nation of Singapore, where the community’s spirit is as integral to its identity as its innovative edge, SGUnited stands as a rallying call. Born out of the need to come together in the face of unprecedented challenges, SGUnited is a testament to Singapore’s collective resolve to not just endure but to emerge stronger. It encapsulates a range of initiatives, programs, and movements, all united under one banner with a common goal: to support Singaporeans in navigating the socio-economic impacts.

SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme

The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme is a full-time attachment programme supporting mid-career individuals aged 40 years and above in their employability. They offer attachment programmes to various host organisations, where plans are put in place for these trainees for their development. The attachments will last between 4 to 6 months and trainees may be able to gain employment in these companies depending on their performance.

There is a training allowance of up to $3,800 per month for the duration of the attachment, which is co-founded by the government and the host organisation. This sum may vary depending on the scope of the attachment. 

The SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme is a part of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills

Package, that provides mid-career individuals with traineeships and training opportunities at

companies and public sector agencies. 

SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Training

If you are a mid-career individual looking to boost your employability through full-time

training offered by reputable companies like Google, Shopee and IBM, the SGUnited

Mid-Career Pathways Programme – Company Training is for you. Training opportunities

are available through 6 to 12 month courses developed and delivered by market-leading

reputable companies.

Trainees will receive a training allowance of up to $1,500 monthly through the course of their studies. The programme consists of a job-role specific training bootcamp for three months, delivered in partnership with Temasek Polytechnic. After which, the bootcamp will be followed up with a six-month paid apprenticeship with Microsoft and Generation Singapore employer partners.

Workforce Singapore

At the heart of Singapore’s bustling economic activity stands Workforce Singapore (WSG), an agency committed to empowering the nation’s most valuable asset—its people. WSG is a visionary establishment dedicated to nurturing a strong and inclusive workforce that can meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global economy. It’s an institution that not only understands the aspirations of Singaporean professionals but also provides the means to achieve them.

Career Conversion Programme for Social Workers (CCPSW)

WSG has partnered the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) to offer the Career Conversion Programme for Social Workers (CCP SW) to support mid-career individuals in acquiring knowledge and skills needed to become qualified Social Workers.

Eligible applicants must be selected by a participating employer in order to be selected for the Programme. With this arrangement, trainees can gain valuable experience while studying, and the practicum sessions will enable trainees to be effective in their respective fields upon graduation.

Eligibility for this programme will require you to secure employment with a participating employer from the programme, after which you can choose from the following SUSS part-time courses, depending on your educational qualifications:  

  • Graduate Diploma in Social Work
  • Accelerated Bachelor of Social Work

Successful applicants can enjoy subsidies on their course fees, partly fulfilled by NCSS and WSG. For example, a Singaporean applicant for the Bachelor Degree of Social Work can expect to pay $3,582.60 after subsidies, of the estimated total fee of $35,826. However, there is a bond period to fulfil upon graduation with the hiring organisation. 

Criteria for applicants: 

  • 21 years old and above
  • At least two years’ full-time working experience (excludes NS)
  • Sponsored by participating employer
  • Trainees may be required to undergo screening interviews/assessments conducted by SUSS
  • Depending on the course selected, there are specific educational requirements
  • For Diploma, you will need to have an undergraduate Degree or an equivalent from a recognised institution
  • For Bachelor’s Degree, you will need to have either of the following:
    • GCE ‘A’ level with two passes (prior to 2007) or two H2 passes (from 2007)
    • Local Polytechnic Diploma or equivalent
    • NUS High School Diploma 
    • SSI Diploma in Social Services

WSG’s Career Conversion Programme (CCP)

Career Conversion Programmes (CCPs) are conversion programmes targeted at mid-career individuals here in Singapore, to undergo skills conversion and switch to new jobs or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression.

There are 3 modes of CCPs:

1. Place-and-Train

  • The mid-career individual is hired by a participating employer before undergoing training to take on a new job role.

2. Attach-and-Train

  • The mid-career individual is provided with training and work attachments, prior to job placement. This is done in partnership with industry partners in growth sectors with good future career opportunities

3. Redeployment / Job Redesign (JR) Reskilling

  • This is targeted at companies that are undergoing business transformation, and where their existing workers are at risk of redundancy or are in vulnerable jobs due to the transformation. These workers will be provided with training to prepare them for new job roles or redesigned job roles within the same company.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Minimum 21 years old
  • Graduated or completed National Service, for at least two (2) years
  • New job role trained for under the CCP should be substantially different from previous job role(s)*, hence requiring reskilling for career conversion
  • Able to commit to full-time employment or attachment in a participating company

TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA)

An initiative of SkillsFuture, TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) aims to build and develop a skilled Information and Communications Technology (ICT) workforce for Singapore’s digital economy. TeSA is driven by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and in collaboration with the industry, SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore and the National Trades Union Congress.

1. Company-Led Training (CLT) programme

The Company-Led Training (CLT) programme aims to accelerate the professional development of tertiary graduates and mid-career professionals including mature PMETs, through an on-the-job training programme to help them achieve competencies for jobs in demand by industry, especially those that support the digital economy sector transformation efforts.

The CLT programme aligns to the Skills Framework of ICT and focuses on developing tech skills. Through this programme, participants can take IT courses in Singapore designed to build expertise in these areas, especially in new areas like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), Data Analytics, Blockchain, etc.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident (SPR)
  • Able to commit to completing the full training programme
  • Able to meet the hiring requirements of the companies

2. TeSA Mid-Career Advance

This programme aims to help companies address their tech talent needs by tapping on experienced Singaporean workers aged 40 and above from different sectors, who will be upskilled to take on meaningful tech job roles, regardless of whether the individual has an ICT background.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • At least 40 years old
    A Singapore registered company.
  • An employer of ICT professionals for tech job roles in demand by the industry.

3. Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP)

The Tech Immersion and Placement Programme (TIPP) is a professional conversion programme that aims to convert non-ICT professionals into industry-ready ICT professionals. They will be required to find placement in tech job roles, after undergoing a short intensive and immersive training programme delivered by industry practitioners.

Through the immersive IT training courses offered in Singapore, trainees will build an impressive portfolio of ICT projects. They also get to interact with leading experts in the respective fields to help them prepare for roles in the ICT industry such as web developers, user experience designers, and data analysts.

Eligibility Criteria:

Individuals:

  • Singaporeans who are non-ICT professionals and are interested in switching to ICT job roles.

Companies:

  • Singapore registered Institute of Higher Learning (IHL); or Private Education Institution (PEI) with a valid Enhanced Registration Framework (ERF) registered with the Council of Private Education (CPE) for the duration of the project qualifying period.

4. Career Conversion Programmes (CCP)

Career Conversion Programmes (CCP) are career conversion programmes targeted at Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs), including mid-career switchers, to undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression.

These programs provide targeted training in relevant IT courses in Singapore, such as coding and software development, to equip participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in the fast-paced digital economy. This makes it an ideal option for those looking to start a tech career, media career, or digital career.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs)
  • Employers of ICT professionals

5. TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) for ITE and Polytechnics Alliance (“TIP Alliance”)

IMDA, together with Industry players, has set up the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) for ITE and Polytechnics Alliance (“TIP Alliance”) to equip students and graduates from Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and Polytechnics with the skills to take up opportunities in tech or digital careers, and share in Singapore’s digital growth.

To enhance ITE and Polytechnic graduates’ employment outcomes and industry relevance, we encourage companies to champion skills-based hiring. Through the SkillsFuture Work-Study programme, the TIP Alliance provides students with a unique opportunity to gain real-world work experience.

About Vertical Institute

We’re building the future of work. Vertical Institute prepares individuals for the jobs of tomorrow. We specialise in teaching in-demand skills, building the next generation of changemakers and inventors through our world-class tech courses and certifications.

Vertical Institute is accredited as an Approved Training Provider (ATO) by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and The Institute of Banking & Finance Singapore (IBF). All our courses are government-subsidised, eligible for SkillsFuture Credits usage, and NTUC UTAP Funding.

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