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Enhanced Training Support for SMEs

From 1 April 2015, the Training Grant applications can be submitted from 30 days before the course start date. This is reduced from 180 days before the course start date. You also have up to another 30 days after the course start date to submit your application.

The enhanced funding is to encourage SMEs to send their employees for training. This was based on feedback from SMEs and industry associations who identified training and upgrading as a key area where they hoped to receive Government support.

Past studies have shown that SMEs were less likely to send their workers or themselves for training compared to larger companies.

The enhanced training support is extended to local1 employees of SME establishments (hiring not more than 200 employees) registered or incorporated in Singapore. These employees must be fully sponsored by their employers to attend training. In addition, WDA will work with industry associations and agencies so that self-employed persons can also benefit from the enhanced training support through targeted programmes.

More than 8,000 courses fall under this scheme. This includes certifiable courses supported by WDA and academic CET courses offered by the five Polytechnics/Institute of Technical Education. The three-year initiative took effect from 1 July 2012. This initiative is expected to cost the Government about $30.5 million per year and benefit approximately 8,000 SMEs and 65,000 workers annually.

The enhanced training support scheme includes the following (Details appended as Table 1):

A) Higher Course Fee Funding

SMEs will enjoy subsidies of 90% of the course fees when they sponsor their employees for the above-mentioned CET courses. All employers of workers who meet the eligibility criteria for Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme will continue to receive course fee funding under the WTS scheme2.

B) Increased Absentee Payroll Cap

In addition to higher course fee funding, SMEs can also claim absentee payroll funding of 80% of basic hourly salary at a higher cap of $7.50 per hour, a significant increase over the normal cap of $4.50 per hour. All employers of workers who meet the eligibility criteria for Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme will continue to enjoy absentee payroll funding under the WTS scheme2.

Table 1: Enhanced Training support for SMEs

Normal Training Support Scheme
Enhanced Training Support Scheme
Certifiable Courses Supported by WDA
(Rank & File)

  • 80% course fee subsidy, capped at $7 per hour for certifiable courses
  • 90% course fee subsidy for CET Centres' courses
  • Absentee Payroll funding of 80% of basic hourly salary, capped at $4.50 per hour
(Rank & File + PMEs)

  • 90% course fee subsidy, capped at $30 per hour for certifiable courses
  • 90% course fee subsidy for CET Centres' courses
  • $15 per hour for in-house certifiable training
  • Absentee Payroll of 80% of basic hourly salary, capped at $7.50 per hour
(PMEs)

  • 50% course fee subsidy, capped at $15 per hour for certifiable courses
  • 70% course fee subsidy for CET Centres' courses
  • Absentee Payroll funding of 80% of basic hourly salary, capped at $4.50 per hour
Academic CET courses
  • Part-time Diploma: 70% subsidy for the cost of programmes for Singapore Citizen (SC) trainees
  • Advanced Diploma (AD) / Specialist Diploma (SD): 85% of the cost of AD/SD programmes for first-time SC trainees.
  • For SC trainees pursuing subsequent AD or SD, subsidy is 70% of the cost of the programme, provided that more than five years have lapsed since they completed their AD or SD.
  • Part-time NITEC and Higher NITEC: 90% fee subsidy for SC trainees
  • Absentee Payroll of 80% of basic hourly salary, capped at $4.50 per hour
  • 90% subsidy for the cost of Polytechnics' academic CET programmes (i.e. Part-time Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Specialist Diploma Programmes for first-timers).
  • Absentee Payroll of 80% of basic hourly salary, capped at $7.50 per hour for Polytechnics' and ITE's academic CET programmes (i.e. part-time Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Specialist Diploma programmes, part-time ISC, NITEC and Higher NITEC programmes)

 [1] For academic CET courses offered by the five Polytechnics/Institute of Technical Education, the enhanced training support will only be extended to Singapore Citizens (SCs).
[2] At present, under the Workfare Training Support (WTS) scheme, employers who sponsor their employees (Singapore Citizens aged 35 years and above, and earning up to $1,700 per month) are eligible for course fee and absentee payroll funding at 90%-95% for WSQ training. With effect from 1 July 2013, the monthly income cap will be raised to $1,900.

For more information, please visit WDA website.

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