Adult education in Singapore

Training and adult education in Singapore

The world keeps changing every day. Better ideas come up and new ways on how to get things done. This is especially true in the work environment. The skills and techniques that may produce wonders today, may be considered irrelevant in a few years to come. As an employee, it is therefore of utmost importance to keep upgrading your skills and knowledge. This will not only ensure you remain relevant but also help you have better job prospects. Here come the importance of Training and Adult Education in Singapore.

The government of Singapore has made this possible for all its citizens by setting up the Continuing Education and Training (CET) system as part of adult education in Singapore.

Continuing Education and Training (CET)

Officially launched in 2008, the CET system seeks to empower Singapore’s workforce and keep it at par with economic changes.

This is because factors like technological advancements make some skills and careers obsolete as time goes by.

For example, a few years back you would earn decently by being a video store clerk. Not anymore. With the emergence of movie streaming sites such as Netflix, this job description is now irrelevant.

Through the CET system, you can continuously keep learning new skills and techniques that come in handy in your career. Your starting qualifications do not matter as long as you keep upgrading your skills and deepening your professional competency.

Other than that, the system seeks to encourage employers to focus on building and valuing their employees’ skills. This will give workers the motivation they need to advance in their careers.

Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ)

It is a continuing education and training (CET) system that helps train, develop, assess, and certify skills and competencies.

Though the system complements the formal education system, it does not require any academic prerequisites. Anyone is, therefore, qualified to join regardless of their academic background and qualifications. This applies to both the technical and generic aspects.

In the technical aspect, WSQ focuses on teaching job-specific skills that an individual needs to perform various tasks in a particular job. This includes training in aerospace, logistics, security, water fabrication, and Information and Communications Technology, just to mention a few.

In the generic aspect, WSQ aims at equipping an individual with skills and competencies that can be applied across board. This includes training on business management, leadership and people management, excellent delivery of services, occupational health and safety etcetera.

Benefits of WSQ to Individuals

The courses offered under WSQ are competency-based rather than academic-focused. That means that before you earn any certification, you will have to prove your competency in a given area.

Here are among the benefits that come with WSQ courses

  • Enables you to plan your career or attain new skills for a new employment sector
  • You get to gain more skills and experience growth in your career.
  • Once you complete various courses you acquire certifications that will prove your newfound knowledge to employers
  • New qualifications and certifications improve your career prospects
  • You get to assess and certify your skills vis -a- vis industry standards.
  • Improved work morale due to more confidence in handling various tasks

Benefits of WSQ to Employers

The system allows employers to choose courses and training that they determine to be relevant in their industry. Their employees can then go through them to improve their capability.

When employees are more skilled and equipped to effectively handle their tasks, it enhances the employers’ competitive edge and helps their business grow.

Here are additional benefits of WSQ to employers

  • Avails standard, quality, and relevant training choices
  • Provides guidance on areas to train and equip employees
  • Through it, employers can gauge the performance and competency of their employees
  • Empowers in-house training.
  • Enables employers to come up with a practical and relevant job description.

Pathways for Attaining WSQ Qualifications

There are two main ways of acquiring WSQ qualifications

  1. Train and assess pathway
  2. Assessment only pathway

Train and Assess Pathway

This is whereby employees first undergo training, and after completing take assessments to prove their competency. Once they satisfy the examiners, they are certified.

Depending on your preference, there are several ways in which you can undertake these classes. They include:

  • Classroom Delivery

Considered among the most general form of training strategies, it is a structured, facilitated, and highly interactive teaching method. You will need to set aside some time and days of the week to be physically present for the classes.

  • E-Learning

If you do not have a flexible working schedule, you can choose to go with this option. Just like in a classroom setting, you can learn all that you need to in a particular subject, only that this time you get to learn at your own pace and suitable time. What’s more, you can take the lessons from any part of the world you are in.

It is also a suitable method if you prefer individual learning rather than crowd settings. In case of any questions or problems, you can reach the tutor via the provided forms of communication.

  • On the Job Training

This is mostly applicable to vocational work, whereby you are trained using actual tools, equipment, and materials used in a normal work situation.

Assessment Only Pathway

This route is appropriate for those who are confident in their skills and experience thus do not need to undergo training. Instead, they opt to only take assessments to get certified and prove their competency. The government of Singapore has appointed various centers where one can undertake these tests.

Levels of Qualifications in WSQ

There are seven levels of qualifications. Namely Certificate, Higher Certificate, Advanced Certificate, Diploma/ Professional Diploma, Specialist Diploma, Graduate Certificate, and Graduate Diploma. Once you complete each level, you are awarded some credit points. The higher the credit points you garner, the more competent you are considered by employers.

To encourage employees to attain full WSQ qualifications, the government has put in place the Skills Future Qualification Award. It is a program that awards applicants, who have attained full qualifications, a cash reward of $200 or $1000.


As the world’s technology and industries keep evolving, adult education in Singapore helps employees remain relevant and competent. Since the initiative’s inception in 2005, this objective has been met and both employers and employees have reported tremendous growth at the workplace.

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