Budget 2024: ITE grads to get $10,000 in CPF top-ups after getting a diploma, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Budget 2024: ITE grads to get $10,000 in CPF top-ups after getting a diploma

Graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will get a total of $15,000 in top-ups when they enrol in and complete a diploma programme, as part of efforts to better support them financially and professionally.

These aim to ensure that the wages and career prospects of ITE graduates are not too far below those of their peers in polytechnics and universities, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in his Budget speech on Feb 16.

Under the new ITE Progression Award, graduates aged 30 and below will get a $5,000 top-up to their Post-Secondary Education Accounts when they enrol in a diploma programme. This is to help offset the costs of obtaining a diploma.

Once they have obtained their diploma, these graduates will get an additional $10,000 topped up into their Central Provident Fund Ordinary Accounts. This is to give them a headstart in purchasing a home or saving for retirement.

“We want to encourage and support more young ITE graduates in their upskilling efforts, so they can excel in a profession they have trained in, and get themselves onto a better career and wage trajectory,” Mr Wong said.

In his speech, Mr Wong stressed the importance of improving wages across different professions, noting that too large a gap in wages in any society creates unhealthy levels of anxiety and stress.

“Parents and children may get caught up in an education arms race, or may feel pressured to prioritise careers only in a few traditional fields, instead of focusing on their individual strengths and talents,” he said.

Mr Wong made reference to the Forward Singapore report released on Oct 27, 2023, which noted that the vast majority of Singaporeans welcome broader definitions of success.

The report laid out plans to help ITE graduates given the widening gaps in starting salaries between these graduates and those from polytechnics and autonomous universities, a point which Mr Wong also raised in his Budget speech.

“We want more diverse pathways so that every individual can strive to be the best version of themselves. This also means that we must accord greater value to those who are skilled in technical hands-on abilities, as well as those with the social and empathetic traits to excel in service jobs,” he said.

The new award is a “significant investment” in ITE graduates, Mr Wong said.

“It represents our continuing commitment to uplift them, and to better equip them in their journey of lifelong learning.”