Adult student balanced work, class and family

Mr Richard Chai graduated yesterday with a Nitec in infocommunications technology, specialising in networking and systems administration. The 48-year-old, who has worked mainly in sales, wanted to move to a more technical, hands-on career path.
Mr Richard Chai graduated yesterday with a Nitec in infocommunications technology, specialising in networking and systems administration. The 48-year-old, who has worked mainly in sales, wanted to move to a more technical, hands-on career path.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Having to study for his Continuing Education and Training course while working did not affect Mr Richard Chai's family time.

The 48-year-old moved his computer to the living room so he could spend time with his primary-school teacher wife and his daughter, 16.

Mr Chai graduated with a Nitec in infocommunications technology, specialising in networking and systems administration, yesterday.

For the past two years, he spent four nights a week attending class from 6.30pm to 9.30pm at Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West in Choa Chu Kang. He described his schedule while studying part-time as "very, very, very tiring", and said he had to be time-efficient, even studying on buses and trains.

After graduating from Nanyang Technological University's business school with a business degree, he has been working in IT firms such as Oracle and IBM, mainly in sales. But he pursued the Nitec as he wanted to move to a more technical, hands-on career path.

Mr Chai was awarded the e2i Gold Medal that recognises lifelong learning in adult students to improve their employability. It is sponsored by e2i, or the Employment and Employability Institute, which helps grow people's skills and careers.

  • 4

  • Number of nights a week Mr Richard Chai spent attending class from 6.30pm to 9.30pm at ITE College West.

At the time when talk of the Smart Nation initiative was gaining pace, Mr Chai realised he did not have any skills to value-add, and it was a matter of time before he became redundant as a salesman.

His wife was initially taken aback by his decision to go to the ITE, instead of pursuing something like a PhD. But he wanted to learn the basics hands-on from the bottom.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2018, with the headline 'Adult student balanced work, class and family'. Print Edition | Subscribe