Subsidies for social service courses

Subsidies for social service courses
Mr Lee Seng Meng (in black) is one of five social workers featured in a new campaign to promote the social work profession as a career of choice.

SINGAPORE - In a bid to attract more mid-career workers, courses at the Social Service Institute (SSI) will be heavily subsidised for members of the public. The courses will also come with a nationally-accredited certificate which will be recognised across industries.

The changes come after the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) appointed SSI as a Continuing Education and Training Centre for the social service sector from the beginning of this month.

The WDA, which has already invested up to $28 million over three years in the SSI, will now offer subsidies of up to 90 per cent for SSI programmes at the "rank and file" level. The subsidy is up to 70 per cent for those at the "professional, managers and executives" level.

For instance, applicants can now pay just $62 for SSI's basic course on identifying key providers and services in Singapore's social service sector, instead of the full fee of $620.

WDA subsidies are open to everyone, while existing government grants are restricted to those already in the social service sector.

An SSI spokesman said it now has more than 50 courses open to the public, but the aim is to have all 200 courses accessible. But first, courses need to be restructured to include assessments so as to come under WDA's Workforce Skills Qualifications framework and qualify for WDA funding.

The SSI aims to bring 1,900 new workers into the sector over the next three years.

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