Sunday, November 22, 2015

SKILLSFUTURE Directory Launch!

Mmmm, news by CNA, the SkillsFuture course directory website is up!

So, what is SkillsFuture about? Here are some screenies to help you along so I don't bastardize anything by opening up my mouth.

I am personally excited about using my SkillsFuture credit next year! I have written about some cool things that you can use the credits for, but I guess with the directory up, I will browse around a bit more and see if anything else is interesting.

Ideally, in the truest sense of what you SHOULD be using using your SkillsFuture Credit (SFC) for, it would be anything that is currently related to your current job. It should either improve on areas where you have trouble with, any areas you have been avoiding, or equip you with the skills to progress to the next level. For most people aged 25 and over, we already have some relevant working experience in our job and industry, so that would be the best way to capitalize on the SFC to improve employability, relevance, salary and prospects for promotion. Immediately what comes to mind are specific courses, like tackling Office programmes or WSQ for leadership skills.

Alternatively, the next way to use the SFC as a way to pick up and experiment with freelance-esque skills which you might be interested in, but never had the opportunity to try. For example, you could pick up language skills and be a freelance translator. You could even just do translation jobs without learning your house! There are courses for a lot of freelance type jobs - some are just to equip you with the basics, while some even teach you and then certify you with an industry-recognized certification. Like photography? Take some classes and be a freelance photographer! Sure, you might not get wedding gigs, but you could do family portraits and simpler jobs. Heck, you can even go do passport photos if you want, haha! And those are the more on-hands skills. There are plenty of computer-based and web-based skills that can be learnt, from basic things like web design all the way to niche things like photoshop and editing. This is a good way to explore an interest and turn it into a secondary source of income.

Another way I can think of using the SFC is to build an alternative career path for yourself. Instead of dabbling in skills related to your current job, or freelance skills, you would instead pick up skills that would be useful as an alternative full-time career. I think the WSQ framework have come up with quite a lot of good pathway for a lot of different possible careers paths. Perhaps your company is on the rocks, or you don't enjoy the sort of work you have been doing so far. You can make a decent career switch if you prepare yourself for it, rather than roughing it out from the bottom at an entry position. You might have the skills to skip ahead already, and definitely so if you are certified!

Lastly, which I personally wouldn't recommend unless you are very confident about your job and skills, would be to use take personal development courses. The reason why I think that these courses are the lowest priority is that they are (1) mostly general knowledge, (2) easily learnt over the internet or books for free or (3) useless in increasing employability. I don't think the point of the SFC is so that you can learn how to appreciate drinking tea, do laundry, bake bread and use social media. However, I suppose if you do have credits, you are comfortable with your job and its security, you can go and do whatever you want with it.

However, if you are learning just for interest, I would strongly recommend looking for Coursera online courses which are part of a University's specialization. Not only will you get university-level depth of knowledge and a very strong structured format, you would also get a nice certificate and the courses are very cheap. It is possible to complete an entire multi-part specialization for less than $500, which essentially means it is free! Again, that's if you're just learning for self-interest. I strongly doubt the knowledge learnt from Coursera would be recognized by employers. Unless you are a sole-proprietor or in a leadership position, it would be hard to use and implement the knowledge learnt from such courses to your daily work. But still, enriching, no doubt.

Personally, I think I might be going for a course to learn a freelance skill next year and then goof around by having a possible weekend job. I will be saving up my credits for a few years because I do have a professional course with a recognized certificate in mind, and I want to take it without having to fork out all that money!

Or I could just screw it and become a total masterchef and get a WSQ Diploma in Culinary Arts and spend my days cooking awesome cheap food at home!

Spotted any interesting courses? Have a plan to use your SkillsFuture Credit? Let me know! I'm interested to hear!

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