Industry demand, subsidy spur wish to learn photography

UniSIM digital photography technology student Tan Ee Sin, 57, an engineer, won first prize for his photo, Water Web, at the exhibition. The course enjoys steep subsidies under the SkillsFuture initiative.
UniSIM digital photography technology student Tan Ee Sin, 57, an engineer, won first prize for his photo, Water Web, at the exhibition. The course enjoys steep subsidies under the SkillsFuture initiative.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

A digital photography course that once had few takers now has an eightfold jump in enrolment because of demand from creative industries, and a skills upgrading subsidy.

SIM University's (UniSIM) month-long digital photography technology course had just five students last year and none since its launch in 2011. But this year, its enrolment shot up to 41. Students are aged between 33 and 70.

Graduates of this year's course showcased photographs they took as part of their course work at a Funan DigitaLife Mall exhibition on Monday, which was launched by Parliamentary Secretary for Community, Culture and Youth Baey Yam Keng.

Associate Professor Teng Su Ching, UniSIM's director for continuing and professional education, said "there is a demand in the creative industry, and we believe equipping students with these skills will help them stay relevant in the competitive economy".

Companies that have positions that require digital photography skills include advertising agencies and online retailers.

Prof Teng added that the rise in enrolment for the course could also be due to the SkillsFuture initiative, introduced last year, which provides government subsidies for workers to upgrade their skills.

Full-time employees taking SkillsFuture courses approved by the Ministry of Education (MOE) can get steep subsidies on their course fees.

So, for UniSIM's digital photography technology course, the initial course fee of more than $1,200 could be cut to $64.20 for students above the age of 40.

"With the SkillsFuture scheme and subsidy for MOE-approved SkillsFuture courses, it has become very accessible to the public as the course fees are very affordable," said Prof Teng.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2016, with the headline 'Industry demand, subsidy spur wish to learn photography'. Print Edition | Subscribe