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Singapore's O&M, aviation, retail, tourism firms to get course fee subsidies till next June

SINGAPORE will extend the Enhanced Training Support Package (ETSP) for another six months, until June 30, 2021, to provide enhanced course fee subsidies of 90 per cent for firms in sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, the 90 per cent subsidies under ETSP will be extended to the offshore and marine (O&M) sector starting Oct 5, and be available till next June as well.

The package previously applied to the air transport, retail and tourism sectors, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Monday.

ETSP encourages companies to take advantage of the downtime to upskill their employees, and position themselves for subsequent recovery and growth.

In a press statement on Monday, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) said they will work with appointed training partners to meet the training demand from the O&M sector.

For a start, SSG is partnering the National University of Singapore, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and NTUC LearningHub to offer 38 courses for O&M firms. These courses will help employees deepen domain knowledge and skills in areas such as electrical power engineering, liquefied natural gas bunkering, and shipyard safety, as well as in emerging skills such as robotics and cybersecurity.

Mr Heng also said in Parliament that the government will lower the absentee payroll rates to 80 per cent, capped at S$7.50 per hour, starting from January 2021. Absentee payroll funding helps employers defray manpower costs incurred when they send employees for certifiable skills training.

The rates will be lowered "in recognition of the gradually recovering economic situation", Mr Heng said.

The ETSP had been enhanced in the Resilience Budget. Effective since March 1, over 121,000 training places have been taken up under the package, according to the EDB and SSG statement.

The package was part of measures to help the hardest-hit sectors preserve their core capabilities and enable workers to retain specialised skills.

Other measures to help these sectors were announced in August and included the Enhanced Aviation Support Package, a temporary redeployment programme and the SingapoRediscovers vouchers.

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