Critical Core Skills

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The Singapore economy and business environment are rapidly transforming, with increasing digitalisation and adoption of technology at the workplace. As such, there is a need to redefine the key skills to keep up with the future economy, including an increased emphasis on soft skills as part of the future work in the digital era.

SSG constantly scans the horizon to keep skills updated to ensure continued relevance and currency of Generic Skills Competencies (GSCs) for different groups of stakeholders.

GSCs are common, transferable skills that enable individuals to be employable and employed, facilitate their career mobility, and enable the acquisition of Technical Skills and Competencies (TSCs) relevant for specific job roles in the sector. They were developed and introduced as part of the Singapore Skills Framework (SFw) in May 2016.

In August 2019, SSG embarked on a review of the GSCs to formulate the new Critical Core Skills (CCS), which comprises a total of sixteen (16) competencies grouped into three (3) clusters of skills that workplaces deem most essential. They are:

  • Thinking Critically – These are cognitive skills that are needed to think broadly and creatively in order to see connections and opportunities in the midst of change. Cognitive skills are the root of technical skill development and progression.
  • Interacting with Others – Learning from other people is one of the most effective ways to acquire new skills and ideas. Being effective at interacting with others means thinking about the needs of other people, as well as being able to exchange ideas and build a shared understanding of a problem or situation. Increasingly people need to be able to combine their technical skills with those of others to succeed.
  • Staying Relevant – Managing oneself effectively and paying close attention to trends impacting work and living provide the strategies, direction and motivation for technical skill development.

Who Is It For?

Individuals will need to equip themselves with CCS in order to be employable and employed as well as to enable them to acquire technical skills which they need to perform in the job roles that they serve in, to adapt to changes and seize career development opportunities.

Employers will be able to build not just technical skills amongst their employees but also CCS so that their organisations can be nimble and agile by reskilling and upskilling their employees when corporate strategies change and business needs transform.

Training Providers will be able to reference the CCS to develop soft skills curriculum and integrate them as part of technical skills training, so as to ensure the relevancy and currency of their course offerings in meeting individuals’ skills development needs and industries’ skills demand.

How Does It Work?

(i) View the CCS Reference Documents

Each of the 16 CCS has a skills description and proficiency level description as well as the Knowledge and Abilities that one would need to have and demonstrate in order to show evidence of the skills.

Click here (PDF, 146.51 KB) to download the Overview of CCS

(ii) View the CCS Proficiency Level Ruler

The CCS Proficiency Level Ruler describes the level of responsibility, autonomy and complexity required for the three proficiency levels (i.e. Basic, Intermediate and Advanced) defined from the CCS.

Click here (PDF, 13.32 KB) to download the CCS Proficiency Level Ruler.

(iii) View the CCS IHL Training Programmes

These are programmes offered by the Institutes of Higher Learning through which individuals can acquire the CCS, which are transferable and can be applied across sectors. The CCS facilitate employability by supporting individuals in acquiring Technical Skills and Competencies (TSCs) for various job roles in different sectors. Please click here (PDF, 356.42 KB) to access the CCS Programme Listing.

(iv) View the GSC-to-CCS Mapping Document

A mapping of the GSC to CCS was established during the review. Also identified are new transferable soft skillsets that our local workforce should be equipped with, and which are valued by employers across industries.

Users can refer to this mapping document when referencing the Skills Map for selected job roles in the Skills Framework. The mapping document will advise on changes (if any) to the Generic Skills and Competencies (GSC) mapped to the job role.

Click here (PDF, 391.27 KB) to download the GSC-to-CCS mapping document and mapping advisory.


(v) Advisory to Training Providers 

SSG will be announcing plans by 2H 2021 for training providers to deliver CCS-aligned programmes. Training providers are advised to look out for the announcement which will provide information on the requirements to deliver CCS-aligned training programmes1. Meanwhile, training providers can make reference to the CCS2  to develop training programmes. They may submit courses that make reference to CCS for funding, and will be accorded non-certifiable funding rates.

1CCS-aligned training programmes are programmes leading to WSQ accreditation and where Statements of Attainment (SOAs) will be issued

2Training programmes which reference the CCS will not lead to WSQ accreditation; neither will SOAs will be issued.