A NEW fund with a target size of S$30 million has been created to help Singaporeans master skills for the future.

Formed under the SkillsFuture Council chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the SkillsFuture Jubilee Fund will be used for study awards for those who wish to pursue mastery of their craft, with a focus on those already in the workforce.

Unveiling the new fund on Monday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the fund hopes to attract donations from employers and unions, and the Government will match donations dollar for dollar.

The SkillsFuture Council, which was set up in September, will ensure a strong emphasis on life-long learning and create multiple pathways to success based on skills, Mr Lee added.

He also thanked Ho Bee Land for its S$5 million donation to the fund to mark the official inauguration of its office project in Buona Vista, The Metropolis. Since its completion a year ago, The Metropolis located next to Buona Vista MRT Station is close to 96 per cent occupied, boosting Ho Bee's quarterly earnings with strong rental contributions. Current asking rents hover around S$7.50-S$8.00 per square foot per month (psf pm).

Average Grade A rents in Singapore, according to Cushman & Wakefield, has risen 9.9 per cent to S$10.20 psf pm in the third quarter from a year ago.

Touting The Metropolis as a crown jewel of the group, Ho Bee chairman Chua Thian Poh noted that this venture in one-north, an unproven location for office development, is "yet another piece of untested real estate paid off" for Ho Bee, which earlier pioneered the development of luxury homes in Sentosa Cove.

"We observed that the locality (one-north) had everything except a Grade A office building. We saw the chance to create something different; something that we believed would appeal to businesses with its excellent connectivity and amenities," Mr Chua said.

With 1.1 million square feet of net lettable office space, The Metropolis is the single largest office development outside of Singapore's Central Business District. It has attracted multinational companies such as Boston Scientific, P&G, Neptune Orient Lines and General Electric that employ over 9,000 people.

one-north is taking off under JTC Corporation's master-plan to be a hub for R&D and high-tech activities in biomedical sciences, IT, media, physical sciences and engineering industries and has created over 24,000 jobs.

Mr Lee noted that one-north has already made a name for itself and is now home to some of the world's leading R&D companies and research talents. Proctor & Gamble recently opened their S$250 million Singapore Innovation Centre in Biopolis to house 500 researchers, while Danish wind power solutions company Vestas Wind Systems A/S located its R&D Hub for Asia at Fusionopolis where it employs over 400 R&D engineers.

Mr Lee said that the Government will continue to develop innovative work spaces to anchor good companies in Singapore and create good jobs for Singaporeans.