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Enhanced Training Support for SMEs

The current training support schemes are to be enhanced to help SMEs upgrade the skills of their workers, said Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. -AsiaOne

Fri, Feb 17, 2012
AsiaOne

SINGAPORE - The current training support schemes are to be enhanced to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) upgrade the skills of their workers, said Minister for Finance and Manpower Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

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» Special: Budget 2012

Firstly, SMEs who upgrade their workers through all courses certified by WDA, and Academic CET programmes at the polytechnics and ITEs will receive a 90 per cent course subsidy.

The new subsidies, combined with enhanced cash payout PIC scheme, will effectively cover almost the full training costs for SME-sponsored employees, he said.

The Government will also be increasing the absentee payroll cap from $4.50 to $7.50 an hour, which will run for three years and make up about 8,400 courses.

Mr Tharman added that those self-employed will also benefit from the enhancements.

Secondly, the Government will step up grants to help SMEs transform their operations and raise productivity.

He gave an example of L.S. Construction as a company which utilised grants from the current Productivity Improvement Project (PIP) scheme to replace labour-intensive traditional scaffolding solutions with modern scaffolding and safety screen systems commonly used in developed countries.

This, he said, resulted in cutting down the manpower costs to only 40 per cent of the manpower previously needed to construct the scaffold.

He said this illustrated how companies can take advantage of existing schemes to bring in innovations that can make a meaningful difference to their daily operations.

Thirdly, the Government will increase grants for capability development among SMEs from the current 50 per cent to a 70 per cent subsidy rate for the next three years. These schemes will be managed by SPRING and IE Singapore.

He said the grants will provide a $200 million boost over the next three years, which will help SMEs attract local talent and upgrade their business processes.

The substantial support, amounting to a total of $1.4 billion this year, is mainly to help them upgrade and to hire older workers. This will more than offset the additional amount businesses will pay due to increased foreign worker levies, he said.

 
 
 
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