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Upgrading yourself is your opportunity during a recession

and how to save money doing it

Rising prices are starting to be felt everywhere. Every breadwinner is clinging to their job, and every family is bracing themselves for the impending recession.

But for every calamity, there is an opportunity. The richer ones will be all ready to snap up good deals when the market gets soft: Going in for the kill and getting themselves a good deal for a priced property for a discount, then sell it off for a nice profit when the recession is over.

But most folks are worried about not having enough to get thru the recession, let alone investing during the weakened market. What else can they do then? Do you know that one of the best investments during a recession, is simply to upgrade yourself?

Whenever there is a recession, enrolment in schools tends to increase. People start to look toward improving themselves and be ready to take on a new role when the economy recovers. Investing in yourself may not necessarily be expensive, especially here in Singapore where the government give a lot of support for continuing education.

In this article, we will share some tips on what are some ways that you can get subsidies for courses to upgrade yourself, and exactly where to find more information.

Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ)

The WSQ program has been launched in Singapore in 2005 and saw itself evolve for close to two decades. This is one of the most heavily subsidized adult courses in Singapore. Singaporeans or Permanent Residents (PR) can enjoy a subsidy that can range from 70-90% of the course fee itself!

The beauty of this grant is that it is mostly ‘in-built’ within the course, which means that you do not have to apply for it separately when you sign-up for an eligible course.

To find a list of courses (there are more than 25,000 courses being offered at the time this article is written), check out here.

Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA)

If you are a Singapore born after 1994 and are below 31 years old, you will probably have a PSEA account. You can find more information at:

The funds from this account can be used to offset some of the WSQ courses. For your convenient, here is a direct link to the courses which you can use to offset using the funds in your PSEA account: Click here

SkillsFuture Credit

This ‘wallet’ is given to all Singaporean aged 25 years and above starting from January 2016, and contains an initial credit of $500. Through the years, there are several top-ups, especially as part of the COVID pandemic support. For example, a 42-years old Singapore could have as high as $1500 of SkillsFuture Credits in his account for use with various eligible courses.

For more information, go on to the SkillsFuture Credit website to check it out.

SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy (MCES)

Rejoice if you are a Singaporean that is 40 years old and above! Who says that it doesn’t pay to age.

For certain courses offered by appointed Continuing Education and Training (CET) Centres such as Autonomous Universities, Polytechnics, and LASALLE College of the Arts, just to name a few – you will be eligible to receive up to 90% of the course fees! Feel free to approach the various CET Centres to find out more, and those courses that are eligible for MCES will usually be prominently displayed on the course details page itself.

Of course, if you are interested to know more about the MCES itself, you can read it up at:

Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP)

Last but not least, is the UTAP. This is a support funding program supported by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC). The UTAP is eligible for all NTUC members.

This program has a unique list of programs curated by NTUC themselves.

All NTUC members will have $250 refreshed every year and an extra $250 up to the end of 2022 for members aged 40 and above. They will generally be able to defray up to 50% of the unfunded balance of their course fees by doing a reimbursement claim from NTUC thru UTAP.

For more information on UTAP, you can visit the introduction page here.

How you can stack all these together

Here are two especially exciting scenarios where one can explore stacking some of these grants. Do note that the list is non-exhaustive though.

Scenario 1:

You are an NTUC member who is aged 40 and above.

If the cost of an eligible two days course is $960, and that particular course is also eligible for MCES. You will only need to pay $96 before the course commence.

After the course, you can apply to get reimbursed half of what you have paid from UTAP, and NTUC will send you $48.

As a result, you only spent $48 for a two days $960 course!

Scenario 2:

You are a 27-year-old Singaporean who has just discovered about the SkillsFuture Credit program after reading this article.

You found a great WSQ digital marketing course that spans over three days and costs $1500.

As you are only able to get a 70% subsidy, the remaining cost of $450 has to be borne by yourself.

However, you have never used any SkillsFuture Credits before, which has $1000 in the wallet currently. You apply for the course and opted to use the SkillsFuture Credits for the remaining course fee during your sign-up for the class.

Presto! You got to go for the course for technically free!

Upgrading yourself is your best investment

It is always a great idea to upgrade yourself. If you ask me when would be the best time? My answer is always right now.

Really, what is stopping you? Money? (Please read the article again)

Time? Scared that your brain is ‘rusty’?

I encourage you to take a look at the courses that are available and start by going for a course that sounds interesting to you. You do not have to study something that has got to be useful for your current or future work.

Start with something that interests you first. Get into the momentum and you may find yourself enjoying the classes! Acquiring knowledge is only part of the benefit of going for courses. You can make new friends, establish more connections and even share experiences with others.

Do something for yourself today, invest in yourself.

See you in class!

This article is written by Andy Ang.

Andy helps individuals and companies create engaging content and teaches content marketing. You can connect with Andy here


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