Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Postgraduate Open DayMeet us at our next Open Day on the 30 November.

Skills and Workforce Development (MSc)

n/a (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / 2 years via intensive 5-day learning events in Singapore and e-Learning (distance / e-Learning)

Please Note: The programme is completed over two years with a combination of five-day evening and weekend learning events in Singapore and online interactive learning. It is offered in partnership between Cardiff University School of Social Sciences and the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL), Singapore.

Course Aims

In a period of global economic transformation, technological innovation and market uncertainty, the need for innovative approaches to skills and workforce development have never been greater. Established ideas and models have been called into question as developed and developing economies look for new policies to enhance the performance of national economies and improve the well-being of individuals.

In recognising these fundamental challenges, the MSc in Skills and Workforce Development will provide participants with the knowledge and analytical tools to develop and assess alternative policy interventions, identify and seek solutions to challenges in workforce development, and undertake effective research in the field.

This innovative Master's programme is designed by Cardiff University in partnership with the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore and aims to build the next generation of senior policy makers, divisional directors, researchers and other professionals required to meet the skills and workforce challenges of the future.

Special Features

Course Description

Taught by leading international experts, this exciting and demanding part-time Master’s programme will equip you with the latest ideas and analysis in the field of skills, workforce development and employment. By bringing together different disciplines and comparative policy debates, students will have the opportunity to examine the latest theories and research evidence and consequently apply them to national, sectoral and workplace settings.

You will explore pressing contemporary issues such as sustainable economic development, the future of work, inequality and social inclusion, as well as gaining essential knowledge and analytical skills for tackling challenges in the workplace, accessing future opportunities or pursing a doctoral qualification.

The programme is completed over two years with a combination of five-day evening and weekend learning events in Singapore and online interactive learning.

Course Structure

The MSc in Skills and Workforce Development comprises four core 30 credit modules and a 60 credit supervised dissertation on a topic of your choice. Modules are delivered through a combination of intensive 5-day learning events including lectures, seminars and workshops in Singapore, combined with innovative on-line and remote interactive learning. The 5-day learning events include three evenings (Wednesday to Friday) and full days on Saturday and Sunday. Teaching in Singapore will be conducted by Cardiff University faculty. Additional academic support is provided before and after intensive learning events through on-line provision and local guest lectures. Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports and reviews. There are no examinations.

Module 1: Skills and Performance in the Workplace Based around a 5-day learning event at the IAL, the first module focuses on the organisational level and explores the patterns and distribution of skills in the workplace. It examines how workplace skills are shaped by different national systems of education and training, and the broader institutional and regulatory environment. A range of international examples are used to explore the effectiveness of workplace training, and to assess the opportunities and challenges involved in initiatives designed to improve skill utilisation, develop career progression and introduce innovative forms of work organisation.

Module 2: Workforce Development Policy and Competitiveness This module is taught through a variety of on-line and remote learning activities. It focuses on developing knowledge and understanding of the challenges for national skills policy in delivering economic performance. It explores the theory underlying the dominant policy agendas and the links between workforce development policies and broader approaches to industrial and innovation policies. Contrasting notions of performance and sustainability are examined and their potential impact on skill demands and pay inequalities.

Module 3: Globalisation and the Future of Work Taught through an intensive learning event at the IAL, this module critically assesses different theories of globalisation, new technologies and the future of work. It examines the changing relationship between skills, jobs and incomes in a context of intense global competition for high skilled work. It draws on evidence on corporate value chains and the future of skill formation in Singapore, along with the idea of a global auction for knowledge work and considers the implications for the future of skill formation in both developed and developing economies.

Module 4: Research Methods and Techniques in Context Supported by five days teaching at the IAL, the final taught module develops the knowledge and rigorous techniques relevant to researching skills, labour markets and workforce development in a range of national and globalised contexts. It examines the way social science data are generated and used, critically evaluates different types of evidence, and provides students with the technical competence to carry out a masters-level dissertation as well as other research.

Dissertation: The 12,000 word dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research. This enables students to develop their interests in a substantive area related to the programme and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. Each student is allocated a dissertation supervision to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project. Other support is provided through a variety of e-resources.

Assessment takes the form of coursework only, with no written examinations.

Teaching Methods

Each of the four taught modules is designed to be completed over four months. At the start of each module, students have access to module materials via the virtual learning environment (VLE) which provide:

Modules 1, 3 and 4

For Modules 1, 3 and 4, students attend a five-day intensive learning event at the IAL, approximately one month after the start of the module. The event draws upon the independent learning undertaken from the beginning of the module. The schedule consists of:

  • 3 hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings
  • 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday

The learning events are delivered by Cardiff academics and normally include:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars, workshops
  • Group work
  • Student presentations
  • Formative assessment
  • Invited speakers from the region
  • Networking activities


Module 2

Module 2 is delivered remotely through Cardiff VLE. It provides structured learning resources which lead students through the requirements of the module. A range of resources are deployed including:

  • Pod casts that provide an overview of the key concepts
  • Targeted readings linked to on-line activities, eg. tests on understanding, discussion boards, Feedback from academic tutors.
  • Case studies of policy in action.
  • Regular webinars to provide a focus for on-line discussion
  • Online learning support groups

In addition for each module there are:

The Dissertation is supported through a range of online resources and regular virtual meetings with an allocated supervisor.

Teaching session in Singapore

Teaching session of the MSc Skills and Workforce Development at the Institute for Adult Learning in Singapore, May 2016

Tutor Profiles

Skills Acquired

On successfully completing the MSc Skills and Workforce Development, you will be able to:

Career Prospects

The MSc in Skills and Workforce Development was designed by Cardiff University in partnership with the Institute for Adult Learning, Singapore and aims to build the next generation of senior policy makers, divisional directors, researchers and other professionals required to respond to fundamental policy challenges in this field.

Entry Requirements

To qualify, you should normally have a good first degree (at least an Upper Second Honours degree or equivalent) and two or more years of work experience engaged in skills or employment-related issues. Applicants will also have to show evidence of English language proficiency.

Those who have not undertaken an honours degree through the medium of English, must have a GCSE/GCE ‘O’ Level in English Language (Grade B or above), or a Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (Grade B or above), or an IELTS score of 7.0 or above. Those with an honours degree obtained through the medium of English must show evidence of continued professional use of English, for example an employer reference.

How to Apply

Applications should be submitted via the Online Applications Service.

You must also submit a 500 word essay on the following topic: 'Why do you want to study the MSc programme in Skills and Workforce Development and what benefits do you think you will gain from participating in the programme?'

This essay should be submitted with your online application form and will be used to assess your suitability for the programme. Applications cannot be considered without this submission.

Application Deadline:

The deadline for applications is 1 February 2017. However, places are limited and early applications will be given priority in the allocation of places and programme subsidies.

Fees and Funding

The course fee is S$38,000 (before GST).

A flat subsidy of 50% is available for Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents, bringing the net fee to S$19,000 (before GST). For full details of additional subsidies that may be available, please visit the dedicated website.

Next intake: 25 April 2017

School Contact

Name: Ceri Morrison  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 208 70284 / +44(0) 29 208 75178 



School Website:

School Contact

Name: Caroline Lloyd  

Telephone: +44 29208 70397 



More information


Contact us