Continuing careers for pioneer batch of SkillsFuture work-study programme in logistics

Graduates Pearlyn Mak (left) and Nadrah M. Heallmy, part of Republic Polytechnic's pioneer cohort for the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, with their mentors Ms Tan Yoke Hkeng and Mr Ng Kim Hung.
Graduates Pearlyn Mak (left) and Nadrah M. Heallmy, part of Republic Polytechnic's pioneer cohort for the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, with their mentors Ms Tan Yoke Hkeng and Mr Ng Kim Hung. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - The pioneer batch of a SkillsFuture programme for the logistics sector that allows participants to work full time while gaining qualifications received their completion certificates on Wednesday (Jan 4).

The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) for the logistics sector, managed by Republic Polytechnic (RP) in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore, provides fresh diploma graduates on-the-job training and mentorship from among 25 partner companies while studying one day a week.

A total of 35 graduates completed the first year-long programme, started in Oct 2015, to earn a specialist diploma in supply chain management. Out of these, 33 will be continuing their careers at their current placements at logistics firms including ST Logistics and Yusen Logistics. Six will be furthering their education part-time at SIM University with the support of their employers.

Speaking to graduates and company representatives at RP on Wednesday, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said that the programme has "allowed companies to gauge the potential of young talents and make longer-term plans for succession planning".

"As we put in place more programmes like the ELP, I hope that more diploma graduates will consider getting practical experience by entering the workforce before embarking on further studies," added Ms Low.

Graduate Pearlyn Mok, who worked as a logistics executive at Toll Logistics (Asia) for her stint, said that she plans to stay on at the company.

Ms Mok, 22, wanted to further her studies after receiving her diploma in supply chain management from RP in 2015, but feared missing out on work experience.

"With this programme I got to do both at the same time, and I learnt a lot," she said.

While balancing daily work and school projects was a challenge, she had two mentors to turn to - one from RP, and one from the company.

Drawing a salary while studying was a bonus, said Ms Mok, who earned $1,800 a month and received an $80 pay increment after her first year.

RP principal Yeo Li Pheow noted that many of the graduates had received a salary increment, or expansion or rotation of their job scope within the year, which "reflects the emphasis that the companies have placed on recognising skills development and providing more opportunities for career progression", he said.

As chair of the logistics sector coordination team, RP will continue to work with the other four polytechnics as well as Institute of Technical Education (ITE) colleges to help support the manpower development of the logistics industry, said Mr Yeo.

The third intake of 39 participants commenced their programme last October.

The Earn and Learn Programme (ELP), a dual-track approach in which polytechnic and ITE graduates work and further their studies at the same time, has been rolled out in phases since 2015 to sectors such as food manufacturing and hotels.