Like many fresh graduates, Ms Pearlyn Mok faced a dilemma after earning her diploma in supply chain management in 2015: Should she further her studies, or enter the workforce?
In the end, she did not have to choose, thanks to a SkillsFuture programme for the logistics sector. It allows diploma holders to work full-time while furthering their education.
Yesterday, Ms Mok, 22, was among 35 graduates of the pioneer batch of the sector's Earn and Learn Programme (ELP).
Out of these, 33 will continue their careers at their current placements at logistics firms such as ST Logistics and Yusen Logistics.
Managed by Republic Polytechnic (RP) in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore, the logistics ELP provides participants on-the-job training and mentorship from one of 25 partner companies while studying one day a week.
Graduates of the year-long programme earn a specialist diploma in supply chain management.
Speaking to graduates and company representatives at Republic Polytechnic yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said the programme has "allowed companies to gauge the potential of young talents" and make longer-term succession plans.
Ms Mok, who will continue in her job as a logistics executive at Toll Logistics Asia, said that she enjoyed putting theory into practice.
While balancing daily work and school projects was a challenge, she had two mentors to turn to - one from the polytechnic 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 said that many of the graduates had received a salary increment, or expansion or rotation of their job scope within the year.
Their progress "reflects the emphasis that the companies have placed on recognising skill development and providing more opportunities for career progression", he said.
The ELP, a work-study programme for polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates, has been rolled out in phases since 2015 to sectors such as food manufacturing and hotels.