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Parliament: 23 SAF courses, including BMT, now accredited under Workforce Skills Qualification

SINGAPORE - More than 96 per cent of full-time national servicemen (NSFs) who enlist from January this year will receive Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) annually.

The move is part of a drive to enhance the value of NS and ease the servicemen's transition back to studies or the workplace.

A total of 23 courses conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) - including the Basic Military Training (BMT) for most recruits - are now accredited under the WSQ scheme, the national system that trains and certifies individuals in skills that are valued by employers, said the Ministry of Defence.

Under this national training framework, workers gain qualifications ranging from a certificate to an advanced diploma. Even if they do not get a full qualification, they get a statement of attainment (SOA) for each module they complete.

This is to recognise that during NS, servicemen attain leadership, technical, and specialist skills that meet professional standards accepted by industries, Second Defence Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Friday (March 3) in Parliament at the Ministry of Defence's Committee of Supply debate.

"In fact, the teamwork we learn in NS is very much better than most commercial courses on teamwork," he added.

For instance, an NSF with a Physical Employment Status (PES) of A or B will get two SOAs under the employability skills WSQ framework after completing basic military training, except for commando or naval diver trainees.

A trooper who finishes the protection of installation course conducted by the 9th Battalion Singapore Infantry Regiment will receive a level one certificate under the security WSQ framework.

Commanders will receive additional accreditation for their leadership skills. So a naval officer will get a level three advanced certificate under the leadership and people management WSQ framework after completing Officer Cadet School.

Mindef and SAF have been working with SkillsFuture Singapore to expand accreditation across the armed forces, said Mr Ong, who is also Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).

NSFs who have received WSQ accreditation may choose to take up more WSQ courses on their own to reach a higher level of certification.

Giving WSQ accreditation to skills learnt during NS was one of the recommendations of the Committee to Strengthen NS, which was set up in March 2013 to examine how the NS institution could improved.

Commenting on the move, Assistant Chief of the General Staff (Personnel) Colonel Yew Chee Leung said the WSQ accreditation is an additional external validation of the SAF's professionalism and helps employers understand how military skills measure up against professional standards.

"The SAF will continue to explore and accredit more relevant leadership, technical and specialist skills, with the vision of having the skills learnt by our servicemen during their full-time NS recognised by employers, unions and professional bodies," he added.

See more at: Article.

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Reprinted from Straits Times website, Mar 2017. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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