MOM – SPUR Program

Sir, the SPUR program costing $600 million aims to provide workers the opportunities and resources to upgrade their skills & employability. It also gives an allowance to jobless Singaporeans who attend courses – combining training with benefits.

I understand that for those who are unemployed, there is currently no disclosure of the eligibility criteria but will be assessed on a case by case basis. The reason given was that it might discourage some from coming forward or encourage others to abuse the system.

With training places under SPUR doubling from 110,000 in 2008 to 220,000 in 2009, I would like to know :-

1.On what basis does the government based on in the formulation of SPUR? How does MOM decide what training courses and skills to support?

2.How do we measure its effectiveness?

3.Would there be some key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the impact of training on the economy and the workers? Such as how many found new jobs as a result of re-training? How many re-employed with larger work scope? What is the average wage for those who have undergone re-training?

4.Would it be more efficient to have some form of allowance eligibility criteria for the unemployed versus the current approach on a case by case assessment?

Sir, the subsidy rate for PMET courses under SPUR will be increased to 90% and will include all Specialist and Advanced Diplomas offered by our polytechnics. Again the question is how do we measure the effectiveness?

A considerable amount of money was allocated to SPUR, it is important that SPUR focuses on the employability of trainees with new jobs created and with a long term view to cater for the future manpower needs of Singapore as well as to prevent wastage of resources.

(Note: this speech was delivered in Parliament on 13 Feb 2009.)