So I think by now, most of us would have an idea what to do with our Skills Future credits. If you haven’t, it’s probably worth to take a look here.
Skills Future Credits is an initiative by the government with a few important outcomes for both employers and employees.
4 Key Outcomes of Skills Future
1) Help individuals make well-informed choices in education, training and careers
2) Develop an integrated high-quality system of education and training that responds to constantly evolving needs
3) Promote employer recognition and career development based on skills and mastery
4) Foster a culture that supports and celebrates lifelong learning
The part which I found really useful was that they segmented the courses according to industry and hence you get to choose something which is related to your line of work / profession / trade.
Many of us usually get too caught up with life and commitments that we hardly find time to sharpen our skill sets so without a shadow of doubt, this is really one avenue to sharpen the axe to give us a competitive and productive edge in the workforce.
Investments usually involve time and money, this probably would require you spending a good number of hours outside work and family to learn, re-learn or upgrade.
However, did you know that looking at it from a savings perspective, it could also help slash your tax bill substantially?
Courses Eligible for Relief
- Any course, seminar or conference you attended in 2015 leading to an approved academic, professional or vocation qualification ;
Approved Academic or Professional Qualification
Approved Vocational Qualification
- Any course, seminar or conference you attended in 2015 that is relevant to your current employment, trade, business, profession or vocation; or
- Any course, seminar or conference that you completed between 1 Jan 2013 to 31 Dec 2014 which is relevant to your new employment, trade, business, profession or vocation in 2015.You can claim relief for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2016 on the course fees paid in 2015 for:Courses Not Eligible for Relief
1. Courses, seminars or conferences for recreational or leisure purposes;
2. Courses, seminars and conferences for general skills or knowledge (e.g. Internet surfing course, social media skills, basic website building skills and Microsoft Office skills); and
3. Courses, seminars and conferences to acquire skills or knowledge for a hobby instead of your profession (e.g. photography, language and sports courses).
4. Polytechnic/University courses if graduates have never exercised any employment or carried on any trade, profession or vocation previously.
The table below illustrates the maximum savings for an individual:
For details on how to claim, please visit the IRAS link
Personally I feel the government has subsidised and empowered it’s citizens to embrace change and life-long learning. From the ground I’ve came across many retrenched professionals, businessmen who have tried but got burnt out, and distressed job-seekers. Especially in such difficult times where the media is nothing but gloom and doom, people tend to take things more negatively than it should.
However, I see this as a positive step for it’s people to grow and develop their existing skills and knowledge which hopefully translates to better productivity and efficiency to command higher wages and quality of work in the future years.
For those who worry about making ends meet, there needs to be some sacrifice and commitment to growing that wage and market value based on your skill-worth.
For those who are job-seekers or looking to switch careers, this presents a pedestal for you to take the next step to bridge your future role with these initiatives.
For those who are afraid of recessions, why not try picking up something to recession proof yourself too?
There is a saying that “Nobody cares about your investment more than yourself”. The same is true for our own development. Better start investing in yourself for the future and do share with me what you’ve done so far!