SINGAPORE – Small and medium-sized enterprises are set to get more financial support in training their employees, starting next Monday (July 1).

The new Productivity Solutions Grant (SkillsFuture Training Subsidy), worth up to $10,000 for each firm, can be used to cover 70 per cent of out-of-pocket training expenses.

This means that, coupled with existing SkillsFuture course fee subsidies of up to 90 per cent, the cost of sending an employee for a training course with a fee of $2,000, for instance, can cost an SME just $60.

Speaking at the launch of the SkillsFuture Festival on Friday at the National University of Singapore, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat said: “Enterprise transformation and skills training go hand in hand.

“I am heartened to know that more employers are investing in training their workers, but the progress so far has been uneven.”

Mr Chee cited a trend of SMEs investing less in training compared to larger companies, which was recently highlighted by the National Wages Council.

“They employ about 70 per cent of our workforce, but make up only one-third of employer-supported training,” he said.

“For our broad middle-tier of SMEs to upgrade their capabilities and enhance their competitiveness, we have to do better when it comes to worker training. Otherwise, the skills gap could become a bottleneck that limits economic competitiveness.”

The enhanced Productivity Solutions Grant with the new subsidy component was first announced at the Budget debate earlier this year.

SkillsFuture Singapore said this will help companies, especially SMEs, upskill their workforce alongside efforts to improve business processes and productivity.