Pursuing a diploma for her future

After working for 10 years, Ms Shi is studying for a diploma to upgrade her skills. She is a recipient of the SkillsFuture Study Awards.
After working for 10 years, Ms Shi is studying for a diploma to upgrade her skills. She is a recipient of the SkillsFuture Study Awards.ST PHOTO: DON CHI

When she was younger, financial difficulties forced Ms Joline Shi to give up studying banking and finance in a polytechnic after a year.

She had to start working soon after, but has never wavered in her quest for further education.

After about 10 years in the finance sector, Ms Shi, 31, decided it was time to pursue a professional diploma in accounting and financial services at Kaplan Higher Education Institute.

The administrative assistant at asset manager Proa Partners applied for the SkillsFuture Study Awards in April, and started her studies in late July.

This was despite the fact that she had a newborn to look after.

She said: "I wanted to study before I got pregnant, but the plan was delayed. Even without the study award, I would have gone ahead because I felt it was a need to upgrade my skills. I've never thought of giving up."

The study awards are part of the national SkillsFuture movement, which helps working adults upgrade their skills.

She gets $5,000, which helps offset most of her diploma fees.

Her role now includes duties such as processing and monitoring trades.

Besides taking care of her 19-month-old son, Ms Shi has to attend classes, which are about four hours each, two or three times a week after work. "The course is intensive but it's going well - I just finished two exams and am waiting for the results."

She added: "It's been tough but I'm still coping because my husband, who is a relationship manager at Citibank, is quite supportive and will help me to look after our kid when I'm studying."

Even though she does feel guilty about reaching home only after her son is asleep, Ms Shi said: "Furthering my studies is something I've to do for my future and my family, so I'll suffer now and enjoy later."

Rachael Boon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Pursuing a diploma for her future'. Print Edition | Subscribe