The National University of Singapore (NUS) has lined up two new programmes this year to get students to engage in practical work and sharpen their job skills.
Under the Industry Internship Programme (IPP), NUS will work with big-name firms to create for students realistic hands-on learning experiences.
Another scheme, iGen, aims to hone students' innovation skills through internships that give them a chance to devise ways to improve business, say, by making food deliveries more efficient.
"NUS students are very strong academically. But it is also important to expose them to knowledge from the industry," said Ms Corrine Ong, director of the university's career centre, at its career fair this year. This features 220 companies and around 4,200 job offers.
While NUS can provide students with the theoretical foundation, they must engage in practical work to sharpen their innovative skills, she said.
Under the IPP, NUS staff will work with industry partners to design programmes for students. For example, the career adviser of the NUS School of Computing recently worked with IT managers from technology firms to run student workshops.
As for the iGen programme, it will involve 25 to 40 students, who will intern with firms like MasterCard, Citibank or Accenture between May and July.
The programme is open to all students and is a means of "complementing and reinforcing our academic programmes", said Associate Professor Tan Teck Koon, who is in charge of student affairs.
Employers at the NUS career fair said hands-on skills were important. "NUS students are very analytical and can understand concepts fairly well. They are also quite hands-on, which is crucial in our industry," said Mr Lee Tse Luen, assistant vice-president of Sembcorp Industries.
Third-year NUS communications and new media student Tueston Oh was all for the stress on practical skills.
He said: "After all, these are things you are not exposed to in lectures."