Students about to graduate from secondary school often have to make crucial decisions about schools and courses that may determine what jobs and industries they end up in. But many lack access to resources that can help them make an informed decision.
To address this, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has joined the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) to provide students with additional guidance at the biennial WorldSkills Singapore (WSS) 2016 competition.
The three-day event was launched yesterday at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central in Ang Mo Kio.
About 5,000 secondary school students will be able to try activities such as building electronic circuits, speak to industry partners, representatives from the ITE and polytechnics, as well as education and career guidance (ECG) counsellors, in addition to going for career talks and workshops.
They will also get to see how 150 youth competing in 17 skill areas, including graphic design, visual merchandising and aircraft maintenance, are assessed by judges.
The top medallists will have a chance to represent Singapore at the world finals - dubbed the Youth Olympics of Skills - in Abu Dhabi next year.
MOE announced last October that it would increase the number of ECG counsellors in secondary schools, junior colleges, the ITE and polytechnics to 100 by 2017.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who was guest of honour at the opening ceremony yesterday, said the competition reminds Singaporeans of the importance of skills development.
"This is the best way to ensure that Singaporeans stay on the right side of the global divide between those who have skills and can earn a good income, and those who have no particular skills and have to compete with a great mass of people (for) entry into the global labour force."
A WorldSkills National Expert Scheme was also announced yesterday. Skilled professionals in the scheme will provide specialised training and mentorship for the Singapore team at the international WorldSkills competitions.
Ms Kate Choo, 33, an ECG counsellor, said the WSS event can improve a student's self-awareness. "We're targeting secondary school students because it's a very crucial transition stage for them, and there are many post-secondary options for them to explore."
Lim An Ni, a Secondary 3 student at Pasir Ris Secondary, got a taste of the diversity of job options yesterday. "I realised that there are many more roles in healthcare besides just doctors and nurses when I visited the booths."