Photo of Ong Ye Kung from Straits Times

Speaking at a Chinese New year celebration yesterday (Feb 2), Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung announced that the government will spend S$1.2 million to subsidise shipping companies by helping them pay for training. This is on top of two other government subsidies given last year, totaling the welfare assistance to the companies at S$3 million.

The new S$1.2 million funding will be paid through the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union under the NTUC, into two training programmes – the Tripartite Nautical Training Award and Tripartite Engineering Training Award. The move will train 240 Singaporean citizen seaman for the industry.

Each company will be paid S$5,000 for each Singaporean trainee they employ, and they will be contracted to offer them full-time jobs when they complete their training. The S$1.2 million funding is the latest measure by government agency SkillsFuture to subsidise the shipping companies which are currently undergoing a slowdown in their sector. A year ago in Feb 2016, the government had already given S$1.5 million away to the shipping companies to increase training and improve the welfare of their employees. A S$300,000 funding was also given to shipping companies to help defray costs of accommodation for their employees.

The Singapore government is funding corporations to subsidise training costs through the SkillsFuture scheme. Corporations and companies are however not willing to pay for training costs and instead prefer the government to loosen immigration influx and allow qualified foreigners to work.