SINGAPORE - Four new SkillsFuture work-study programmes, offering more than 140 places over the next two years, will be introduced by higher learning institutes to provide Singaporeans with more work-study opportunities in emerging and growth sectors.
One of them, a Bachelor of Technology in computing, will be rolled out in mid-August by the National University of Singapore (NUS), in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore as well as Singapore-based global consumer Internet company Sea.
It will be the first SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme to be delivered in a "place-and-train" mode, with participants hired as full-time junior analysts prior to the start of the programme.
The new programmes were announced by Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang at a virtual SkillsFuture Work-Study Fair held on Wednesday (Aug 12).
The work-study scheme is targeted at fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates.
Individuals who join these programmes hold a job that is as good as being a full-timer in a company while getting to upgrade their qualification to a specialist or advanced diploma through part-time classes.
As part of the new partnership, Sea will hire up to 120 students over the next five years.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) graduates have been invited to apply for the first intake of this programme, while enrolment for subsequent intakes will be open to eligible polytechnic graduates from relevant disciplines.
Participants will undergo workplace-based training, assignments and assessments, which will contribute close to 30 per cent of credits towards the degree.
Trainees who graduate at the end of the 3½-year programme will have the opportunity to become full-time analysts in the company.
The other three new SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes, in the biomedical sciences and media sectors, were launched by Nanyang Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.
Ms Gan noted on Wednesday that many students have had concerns about their graduate employment prospects due to the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has not only changed our way of life, but also significantly disrupted our economy. Recovery will take time, and the job market will be challenging in the coming years."
Encouraging fresh graduates to consider taking up work-study programmes, she added: "Besides conferring a higher educational qualification, (the programmes) allow participating students to continue honing their industry-relevant skillsets through on-the-job training and work-based projects.
"From the employers' perspective, these programmes enable companies to build their talent pipeline early.
"This is especially crucial to companies looking to jumpstart their post-pandemic recovery."
Ms Gan also announced a new portal that has been set up to enable students and graduates to learn more about SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes and sign up for the opportunities posted by participating companies.
Employers can also use the portal to register their interest to participate in the work-study programmes, post job vacancies and hire suitable trainees.
Over 130 such opportunities are currently featured on the portal.
The SkillsFuture Work-Study Programme was inspired by the German and Swiss tradition of apprenticeships and first unveiled in 2015.
It started with 15 programmes across 12 sectors then, and has now expanded to 173 programmes across 36 sectors.