Singapore budget 2024 offers better upskilling support for mid-career 40+ workforce

The Singapore budget 2024 presented on Friday by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong is being widely talked about for its focus on reskilling and upskilling.

Singapore DPM Lawrence Wong
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong with the Budget 2024 document. Photo courtesy: Instagram/lawrencewongst

This reskilling aspect of the latest Singapore budget is particularly beneficial for the mid-career 40+ segment of the workforce.

According to a post-budget Ministry of Finance media release: “The SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme seeks to support mid-career Singaporeans aged 40 and above in undertaking significant reskilling and upskilling to boost their prospects in their current job or pivot to a new career.”

1) SGD 4,000 SkillsFuture Credit Top-Up to be given in May 2024

There will be an SGD 4,000 SkillsFuture Credit (SFC) (Mid-Career) Top-Up. This credit was “introduced at Budget 2015 to encourage Singaporeans to take ownership of their skills development”, said the release.

That skill development support is being bolstered by this SGD 4,000 SFC top-up for “every Singaporean in the year they turn 40 years old”.

Singaporeans who are already aged 40 and above will receive the SFC top-up in May 2024. “The credit will have no expiry date,” clarified the release.

“Eligible individuals can use the SFC top-up for selected courses that are industry-oriented and have better employability outcomes. More details on eligible courses will be announced at the MOE Committee of Supply,” it added.

2) Government aid for a second round of upskilling for 40+ workers

One of the significant features of the latest Singapore budget is the announcement of government subsidy for a second round of upskilling. Until now, there has been only one round of government support for a diploma or higher degree.

The media release said: “Currently, individuals who have previously received MOE subsidies or Government sponsorship for a diploma or higher qualification (e.g., degree) are not eligible for another subsidised full-time diploma qualification at our institutions.

“From Academic Year 2025, Singaporeans aged 40 and above will qualify for the Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy for another subsidised full-time diploma at our Polytechnics, ITE, and Arts Institutions (i.e., Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LASALLE College of the Arts). This will expand the opportunities available for mid-career Singaporeans to take subsidised courses.”

3) Training allowance to offset income loss while upskilling/reskilling

The SkillsFuture Mid-Career Training Allowance will provide financial support to Singaporeans aged 40 and above, while they undertake a full-time course for upskilling or reskilling.

Being engaged in a full-time course of study/training would mean loss of income during that period of time. The allowance, to be made available from early 2025, compensates for some of that loss.

Of course, the training allowance has a set limit. The media release said: “The training allowance will be equivalent to 50 per cent of the individual’s average income over the latest available 12-month period, capped at SGD 3,000 per month. Every individual can receive up to 24 months of training allowance throughout their lifetime.”

The allowance will be given to eligible individuals who enrol in the following full-time long-form training programmes:

  • Full-time SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme courses, which are designed to support mid-career transitions into sectors with good hiring opportunities; and
  • Full-time publicly-funded full qualifications up to undergraduate degree level offered by institutes of higher learning and arts institutions of Singapore.