Beginning this year, SkillsFuture Singapore will recognise competencies picked up by enlistees during Basic Military Training (BMT) and the rest of their full-time service, said Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung in Parliament on March 3. In fact, the teamwork learnt in National Service (NS) is better than many commercial workshops.
Skills acquired during National Service (NS) will receive formal accreditation for both full-time and operationally ready NS men to tap onto future career opportunities. Throughout the full-time NS, the skills learnt such as leadership, technical or specialist skills will be recognised by the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ), a national credentialing system for employees.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), a total of 23 courses conducted by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) are now accredited under the Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) scheme, a move aimed at giving national servicemen a leg-up in their future careers, Straits Times reports. These courses include the Basic Military Training (BMT) for most recruits except for commando or naval diver trainees.
This is reflected in an enhanced Certificate of Service given to full-time NSmen (NSFs) on their Operationally Ready Date (ORD). “By 2018, the certificate will be made more comprehensive to include additional achievements such as awards, commendations and milestones,” Mr Ong told Channel News Asia.
National Service (NS) exists to fulfil the critical need of national security and defence. In enabling national servicemen to perform their roles, they undergo training and education in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the level of competency in many of the skills attained by national servicemen, such as leadership, technical and specialist skills, also meet the professional standards accepted by industries.
The Ministry of Defence and the SAF have collaborated with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to expand accreditation efforts across the SAF to reflect the leadership, technical, and specialist skills acquired during NS under the WSQ.
“While accrediting skills learnt in NS is a useful enhancement of the NS experience, this is neither the main objective nor the key takeaway of NS. NS fulfils the obligation and accords the honour of contributing to the defence of our country. The lasting benefits are the development of character and resilience, and the camaraderie and friendships forged with fellow NSmen,” Mr. Ong added.
As part of the Singapore Army’s efforts to introduce the Soldier Strong initiative, the Centre of Excellence for Soldier Performance (CESP) is set up to enhance soldier performance and increase the combat potential of every soldier.
The CESP will provide a comprehensive and scientific approach to strengthen soldier’s fitness, mental resilience, injury management and rehabilitation, as well as integration of soldier-level systems. It brings together soldier performance-related units to reap synergies in cross-domain integration.
NSFs who have received WSQ accreditation during their full-time NS may choose to take up additional WSQ courses on their own to attain a higher level of certification. The SAF will continue to work with SSG to accredit relevant leadership, technical and specialist skills acquired during NS, with the vision for all NSFs to achieve WSQ accreditation at the end of their full-time NS.
“Ultimately, the fact that someone has completed NS well demonstrates his commitment and dedication. Especially in a challenging unit that stretches his abilities, this should speak for itself, and should be valued and recognised by the whole society, including employers,” Ong concludes.
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