Offer scholarships to make engineering more attractive

The Government's move to hire more engineers and boost their salaries, among other things, is to be applauded ("Govt to hire 1,000 engineers this year"; last Wednesday).

In the current tight labour market, it is a shame not to have enough of such talent at a time when the services of engineers are required in various engineering fields.

Like all other professions, engineers do face challenges. However, their analytical skills and technological expertise evolve and can be applied in many other fields.

Engineers from the civil, mechanical and electrical/electronics disciplines are the bedrock of our infrastructure transformation into a modern metropolis.

They should be nurtured, rewarded and honoured.

For some years now, engineering jobs have not been viewed with the favour they deserve.

Hence, we find engineering graduates going into sectors unconnected with their study.

Many seek jobs in the financial and insurance sectors, and even the real estate industry.

This has a knock-on effect of students shunning engineering as a field of study.

To encourage more students to study engineering, the Government could perhaps consider giving full-tuition scholarships to more Singaporean students who are admitted to any of the engineering faculties in our universities.

These scholarships could be bond-free, or the recipients could be required to work in engineering jobs for only, say, two years after graduation.

Such scholarships will be in line with the ones given to many foreign students.

Such scholarships will go a long way to attract more Singaporean students to study engineering.

Andrew Seow Chwee Guan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2016, with the headline 'Offer scholarships to make engineering more attractive'. Print Edition | Subscribe