Websites mislead Singaporeans into thinking they are officially related to SkillsFuture

We’re less than a month into the implementation of SkillsFuture, and already there are websites looking to take advantage of the brand name.

On 12 Jan, The Straits Times (ST) discovered at least 2 websites making use of the name “SkillsFuture” without being associated with the government program.

In a related Facebook post, the WDA has announced that the private websites are neither providers to the official SkillsFuture programs nor SkillsFuture Credit. The government agency warned Singaporeans against inaccurate information written on these private company websites.

What is SkillsFuture and SkillsFuture credit?

SkillsFuture is a national movement that aims to equip Singaporeans with skills throughout their life to achieve their career goals in the future.

According to the official SkillsFuture website, $500 will be given to individuals to spend on upgrading skills, by selecting courses from their catalogue of 10,000 approved courses.

This credit does not have an expiry date and there would be occasional top-ups by the government for credit accumulation.

A search for the word “SkillsFuture” reveals two non-government related sites displayed at the top as advertisements.

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Site 1: Aventis School of Management

The first bogus website, skillsfuture.edu.sg, is owned by Aventis School of Management — a private school offering “graduate education”.

Yes, because putting “edu.sg” at the back of the domain makes the site seem legit.

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According to the ST report, Aventis’ website was launched in April last year, which is right after Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam revealed the program at Budget 2015.

Meanwhile, Aventis does offer a program that where SkillsFuture credits can be used.

That’s right. Just the one.

Given that Aventis only have one course approved by SkillsFuture, naming an entire website after the program seems like a distraction tactic.

Furthermore, as their website seems to promote SkillsFuture, they seem to be misleading consumers into thinking that SkillsFuture Credits can be used for all the courses on their websites.

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Site 2: Glints

The second website — skillsfuture.credit — is run by Glints, offering “personalised learning plans” by selecting courses which might fulfill the applicants career goals, from the catalogue of SkillsFuture’s courses.

Founders of the start-up emphasised that they did not plan to pass themselves off as the official site, saying that they see their site as ‘supplementary to WDA’s efforts’ and their logo is clearly displayed at the front page.

Great reflexes, Glints.

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They added that they would get in touch with WDA as soon as possible.

WDA’s response

WDA has requested the two sites to remove the content, and is currently investigating both websites.

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Featured image via Google
With reference to The Straits Times