Capability Development Scheme for the Arts (NHB)

Launched on 16 March 2020, the Capability Development Scheme for the Arts1 (CDSA) managed by the National Arts Council (NAC) is a time-limited scheme in support of culture and arts organisations during the downtime caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDSA is available for a limited period to support self-employed persons and employees of culture and arts organisations to upskill and grow capabilities through training programmes that take place in Singapore.

Working together with NAC, the National Heritage Board (NHB) is extending the CDSA to privately owned and/or operated Museum Roundtable museums and heritage non-governmental organisations to support them in their efforts to upskill themselves during this time.

The CDSA component administered by NHB, and hereinafter referred to as “CDSA-NHB”, has an application window from 15 June 2020 to 14 September 2020, 5pm for training programmes that take place from 14 September 2020 to 31 March 2021.


CDSA-NHB is open to privately owned and/or operated Museum Roundtable members, and to heritage non-government organisations identified by the National Heritage Board.

Each eligible applicant can apply up to two times during the open call period, with funding support up to the maximum funding level ascribed.

CDSA-NHB is open to all full-time and part-time employees of the eligible organisations mentioned above, who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents.

Who Cannot Apply?

  • All other museums and organisations beyond those mentioned in the eligibility section above;
  • Organisations who have outstanding evaluation reports from previous NHB grants; and
  • Organisations who have outstanding debts with the NHB at the time of application.

What the Grant Supports

CDSA-NHB supports professional training and skills development through programmes such as:

  • Workshops, masterclasses, seminars, conferences; and
  • Professional programmes (e.g. certified or accredited courses).

Supportable programmes should be relevant to the work of the employees in their organisations and should be at least 3 hours in duration. Online courses are also eligible for support.

Priority Areas

Priority will be given to training programmes that are aligned with the priority areas in the Our SG Heritage Plan (2018 – 2022). They include:



Our Places

To build knowledge about tangible heritage preservation and commemoration

Courses that:

  • relate to research and documentation work on the historic and heritage buildings, structures and sites in Singapore.

Our Culture

To build knowledge about the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of Singapore

Courses that:

  • build knowledge about the ICH of specific communities/sub-communities in Singapore;

  • are related to the cultural production and practices of ethnic communities (e.g. food, traditional arts and crafts, significance of key communal events in Singapore); and/or

  • demonstrate the value of ICH in Singapore’s context, or explore case studies that could deepen understanding of specific ICH practices in Singapore.

Our Treasures

To strengthen the museum-going culture in Singapore

Courses that:

  • build audience and visitor engagement;

  • strengthen marketing and business strategies to boost the cultural sector; and/or

  • are related to museum education.

Our Community

To develop skillsets and capabilities that support and contribute to community initiatives

Courses that:

  • enhance digital access and engagement to heritage, especially amongst the young; and/or

  • encourage citizens in documentation and research.

A (non-exhaustive) list of suggested online training programmes can be found at and

Expenses Supported

  1. For organisations planning to send employees to participate in an external training activity or programme, the expenses supported include:

    • Participation and/or registration fees;
    • Course fees, workshop fees, conference fees; and
    • Cost of required training materials*

      *Applicants must demonstrate that the training materials (including books, specialised materials, etc.) are required in order to participate in the course/programme. Where possible, please submit the list of required materials issued by the training organisers as a supporting document.
  2. For organisations planning to engage external trainer(s) for a training activity or programme for their employees, the expenses supported include:

    • Trainer fees;
    • Related costs if the external trainer(s) engaged is/are from overseas*;
    • Logistics and material costs of organising the training activity**;
    • Venue costs***; and
    • Cost of additional manpower****.

      *This includes cost items for the overseas trainer(s), such as visa, travel insurance, airfare, accommodation, subsistence allowance, train tickets, ground transport or ferry tickets to travel to the location(s) of the activity or programme and back. For accommodation, the maximum supportable duration is from the night before the start of the activity or programme to the night of the last day of the activity or programme. For example, if the programme starts on 2 December and ends on 5 December, accommodation for the night of 1 December to the night of 5 December is supportable. The night of 6 December will not be supportable.

      ** This includes cost of printing or purchasing materials for organising the training activity, as well as the cost of logistical setup if this is not already provided by the venue.

      *** This includes the cost of renting a space to conduct the activity or programme. Applicants should refer to MOH’s guidelines on safe distancing and reopening if the courses are proposed to be conducted in a physical venue.

      **** This includes the cost of additional manpower (e.g. temporary staff, overtime pay, salary/fees for additional hours/project) to organise the activity or programme. However, CDSA-NHB cannot support the basic salaries of existing staff. Please note that NHB may request proof of payment of salary/fees as a supporting document.

Expenses not Supported

  • Cost of assets. E.g. computer hardware, software, equipment, furniture, books not related to the course.

Courses that are Not Supportable

  • Activities that do not involve or benefit practising professionals in the heritage sector;
  • Activities that are held at a religious venue or primarily aimed at promoting religious causes;
  • Tertiary education programmes that are subsidised by the Ministry of Education (i.e. NITEC, Higher NITEC, Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree);
  • Full-time degree programmes (i.e. Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree or Doctorate). Individuals seeking support for such programmes should apply for the NHB Scholarship or NAC Arts Scholarship; and
  • Activities that are presented as part of the curriculum of a school or tertiary institution.

Absentee Payroll

Organisations whose staff participate in training will be eligible for absentee payroll for existing full time or part-time employees.

CDSA-NHB can support $10 per hour of training per full-time or part-time employee who are Singaporeans or Permanent Residents. NHB may request for the organisation to submit the most recent payslip of the employee that is being sent for training as a supporting document.

To be eligible for the absentee payroll funding, applicants must meet all the following criteria:

  • Organisation must be registered or incorporated in Singapore;
  • Trainees must be full-time or part-time employees of the sponsoring company;
  • Trainees must continue to receive their salary when they attend training; and
  • Trainees must complete the course whilst under employment of the sponsoring organisation.

How Funding is Allocated

What the Grant covers

Up to 90% of programme fees, including absentee payroll of $10 per hour of training per eligible employee.

Funding Level

Up to $6,000 per organisation (this includes programme cost and absentee payroll).

No. of Applications

Up to 2 applications; each application can include multiple programmes.

Application Deadlines

CDSA-NHB is open for application for a limited time period only:

Apply Between

For Training Taking Place

15 June 2020 to 14 September 2020, 5pm

14 September 2020 to 31 March 2021


Applications can be submitted throughout the application window from 15 June onwards. Training programmes which have started from 15 June onwards can be submitted for retroactive support. Applicants can choose to attend the training before receiving an official approval from NHB. However, applicants who choose to start their training before receipt of the Letter of Offer will have to shoulder the full costs of the programme if the application is unsuccessful.

We encourage you to submit your application as early as possible before the start date of your training programme. Please allow approximately three (3) weeks for NHB to process your application.

Successful Applications

If your application is successful, you will receive a Letter of Offer that includes the Terms & Conditions of the Grant. Unless stated otherwise, the grant offer will be valid for two (2) weeks from the date of the letter of notification. After which, the offer will lapse.

Unsuccessful Applications

A Letter of Notification will be sent out to unsuccessful applicants within three (3) weeks from the date that NHB receives the application. All appeals will have to be submitted within two (2) weeks of the date of the Letter of Notification.

Offer and Disbursement of Grant

Successful applicants must submit via email the following required information within two (2) weeks from the completion of course:

  • Proof of completion of course***** (e.g. certificate of completion from training provider), including details on training hours;
  • Financial report (i.e. the budget form submitted as part of the grant application, with actual expenditure reflected); and
  • Receipts/Supporting Documents of all supportable costs.
  • The grant will be credited to the applying organisation’s bank account via GIRO on a reimbursement basis after the training is completed and submission of the above information.

    ***** Supporting documents should include proof of daily attendance signed off by trainer(s) and participants for programmes involving external trainer(s).

    Application Form

    The application form is appended in Annex A. Please email your application to

    Required Information

    You are required to prepare and submit the following information at the time of application:

    Organisations engaging external trainer(s) to provide customised training for employees are to submit the Curriculum Vitae of trainer(s) as well.

    For all email submissions, please note the following requirements:

    • All emails sent must not exceed 10MB in total;
    • The file name should be less than 10 characters – no symbols, only in alphabet or numbers e.g. “abcdefg123.jpg”;
    • The file name must include the file extension, e.g. “.doc” or “.jpg”;
    • The file must not contain script or macros; and
    • Zip files cannot be encrypted or locked with password.

    1The CDSA was part of the “Unity Budget” announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Heng Swee Keat on 18 February 2020. DPM Heng subsequently announced a supplementary budget on 26 March 2020, which included enhanced measures for the Arts and Culture Sector through the Arts & Culture Resilience Package.