Imagine closing one job interview thinking you have just nailed it. Then the interviewer asked to see your qualifications and certificates, and you are like, “Darn! I forgot to bring them with me!” Or imagine being in the shoes of the interviewer. After confirming one candidate, you have to retrieve his certificates and photocopy them one by one, while wondering if they are authentic?
Recently, I discovered that SkillsFuture Singapore had launched a very useful tool, called OpenCerts, that would help us avoid all these embarrassing or difficult situations at job interviews! In this post, I will cover the following topics related to SkillsFuture Singapore’s OpenCerts:
- What is OpenCerts?
- Who Is OpenCerts For?
- Accessing OpenCerts?
- Share Your Verified Certificates Using MySkillsFuture Mobile App
- Share Your Verified Certificates Using Desktop?
- Hits and Misses of OpenCerts
What is OpenCerts?
According to SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), OpenCerts is “a common standard for the issuance of digital certificates and verification of authenticity of those certificates. By adopting this common standard, we aim to allow Singaporeans to easily access and retrieve their digital certificates from a single location through their Skills Passport on MySkillsFuture.”
In human language, it means that if we graduate or complete any professional courses from any of the government schools1 in Singapore, we can find a digital copy of our certificates on SSG’s OpenCerts platform.
The digital copies are secure, because blockchain technology is used (which banks use to make sure all digital transactions are secure), so you won’t need to worry that someone else will use the digital copy of your certificates for dubious uses.
It also means… well, you can’t use fake certificates to apply for jobs too. (Which, in case you don’t know, is illegal)
1Currently, the recognised institutions are: (i) N, O and A Levels, (ii) ITE qualifications, (iii) diploma and degree qualifications from polytechnics, LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE), Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Autonomous Universities (AUs) and the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC), as well as (iv) Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ)
Who Are OpenCerts For?
As mentioned, OpenCerts is a digital version of the certificates issued to graduates of Singapore government schools. However, different groups of people will make use of OpenCerts differently.
For mere mortals like you and me, OpenCerts is mainly a digital repository of our academic qualifications. However, the system made it very easy for jobseekers to share the digital copies of our certificates.
We can either download the certificates and attach them in an email to potential employers, or click on the “Share” button when logged on to the mobile app of MySkillsFuture > Skills Passport. (See below for step by step instructions on how to access and share your digital certificates)
Yup, it means that when your interviewer asks you to show your certificates, you can just whip out your mobile phone and show them the digital copies, or send it to their emails directly from your MySkillsFuture account!
This is very useful as we no longer need to carry our original certificates around and fear that we might lose or damage them along the way. Similarly, those who lost their certificates can retrieve the digital copies of their certificates from SSG’s OpenCerts, or use them to apply for jobs!
On the other hand, when employers receive the digital copies of the certificates (saved in “.opencert” format) from interviewees, they can go to the following link to verify that digital certificate: https://opencerts.io/
For WSQ e-certificates that are saved in PDF formats, employers can still use the current method by entering the job applicant’s NRIC number and serial number stated on the certificate in the following portal: https://www.myskillsfuture.sg/content/portal/en/ecert/ecert_verify.html
If a digital certificate has been tampered or modified, it will fail the verification process. Therefore, it is very easy for employers to know if their candidates are trained and competent in what they claimed to be!
Gone are the days when you had to photocopy all the certificates a candidate brings and then filing them and bringing them around to show hiring managers and HR bosses!
The best thing about this feature is that there is no cost to use the tool; Any employer can use the tool without having to purchase and install additional software or pay any fees to verify the certificates!
According to SSG, this scheme is currently open to Singapore government institutions, but will be rolled out progressively to all training providers in Singapore.
Where Do I Find OpenCerts?
To access SSG’s OpenCerts platform, you can go to: https://www.myskillsfuture.sg/content/portal/en/individual/skills-passport.html and proceed to Skills Passport on MySkillsFuture website with your Singpass.
You can also log on to the same platform using MySkillsFuture mobile app.
(Foreigners who are graduates of Singapore government schools have to create a MySkillsFuture account before accessing OpenCerts)
After logging in to the website, navigate to Skills Passport to view all the certificates you have.
How Do I Use OpenCerts or Share It With Potential Employers?
For mobile app users:
- Tap on the right arrow button at the top left hand corner of the Skills Passport page to start the sharing process.
2. Select the certifications / licenses / skills that you want to share.
3. Click on the “Send Email” icon at the top right hand corner and enter the recipient’s email address to send the verified documents directly to your interviewer / employer.
For desktop users:
- Click on the “Share Skills Passport” icon at the top right hand corner of the Skills Passport page to start the sharing process.
2. Select the certifications / licenses / skills that you want to share.
3. Click on the “Share Skills Passport” icon at the top right hand corner of the window and enter the recipient’s email address to send the verified documents directly to your interviewer / employer.
Useful Initiative That Is Still “Work in Progress”
Although this initiative was launched in May 2019, the repository is far from being in the ideal state.
For example, my degree from National University of Singapore, as well as my Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing from Singapore Management University have yet to be uploaded onto OpenCerts. I checked with my peers and confirmed their university degrees are also not uploaded and “Verified” in their MySkillsFuture accounts.
The unique selling point of OpenCerts was that certificates could be used by employers to verify on OpenCerts verification portal. However, that portal only accepts digital certificates with the “.opencert” file extension.
At the point of writing, most of my WSQ (Workforce Skills Qualification) certificates, especially my most important ACTA (Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment) were saved in a PDF format, which means employers have to separately verify these certificates on another portal: https://www.myskillsfuture.sg/content/portal/en/ecert/ecert_verify.html
This is where the direct sharing function comes in handy.
It’s Better To Share Certificates Directly From MySkillsFuture Account
As mentioned above, while at the Skills Passport section, one can share the verified certificates directly from their MySkillsFuture account to the employer. The employer will receive an email straight from the OpenCert system, with copies of the digital certificates attached in that email.
Since the email is sent from SSG’s domain, the employer should be assured that the certificates attached are of credible source. Similarly, each digital certificate, whether saved in .opencert or PDF format, is stamped with a “Verified” logo.
From the employer’s perspective, this would reduce a lot of processing time, when compared to manually verifying 100% of the certificates they received.
NB: Users can upload their own certificates (perhaps because their school has yet to participate in this scheme), but if the certificates have yet to be verified by SSG or the issuing institution, there will not be a “Verified” stamp beside the certification.
If the employer is still doubtful, we can always share the certificates in front of them, so that they can see for themselves that the certificates they receive are sent directly from our own MySkillsFuture account.
And if the employer is still skeptical about the authenticity of the certificates that have been verified by SSG, I think it will also be best not to join the company. We all know that a manager like “Karen” who cannot trust technology and processes as rigorous as the one set up by SSG (with the help of GovTech, mind you) will be a boss from hell. Stay away from such bosses!
Where Can I Find More Information About OpenCerts?
Detailed information can be found on SkillsFuture Singapore’s website: https://www.ssg.gov.sg/opencerts.html
I find a digital repository of all the certificates a very useful one. We no longer have to worry about forgetting to bring our certificates with us to interviews, or worry about losing our certificates. I really hope that this system will eventually have all major Singapore training providers on board!