After the O levels: ITE rolling out more courses at higher levels

Rapid transit engineering, interactive design among the new programmes

RAIL infrastructure enhancements - including the expansion of the rail network and major upgrades to existing lines - have signalled the need for technicians to maintain the train system here.

To meet the growing demand, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will offer a two-year Higher Nitec course in rapid transit engineering this April. It is one of three new Higher Nitec courses ITE is introducing this year, which can be taken by those who have a related Nitec certificate or who scored at least E8 in three relevant O-level subjects.

"Due to the expansion of the rapid transit system, there is a strong demand for more technical officers to maintain it," said course manager Wong Sheow Leong. "Currently, there is a shortage of skilled individuals."

The pioneer cohort of 40 students will attend classes at the ITE College West in Choa Chu Kang. They will be trained in the maintenance of rail communications equipment, such as train intercoms and closed circuit television cameras, and signalling systems that help trains run more frequently, among others.

In the final semester, students will serve a three-month attachment with rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit, and engineering firms in the rapid transit sector.

Graduates can take on jobs with train operators and engineering firms as technicians and technical officers. They can also pursue polytechnic courses, including a new diploma in engineering systems and management offered by Republic Polytechnic this year.

Mr Syahril Rais, 19, who has applied for the Higher Nitec course, said: "This course is different from the other engineering courses because it is more specific to the rapid transit sector. Singapore is expanding its rail network. I think there will be a lot of opportunities in this line in future."

ITE will also introduce two other two-year Higher Nitec courses this April, on emerging fields such as interactive design, and broadcast and media technology. The additions bring the total number of Higher Nitec courses to 45.

The programme in interactive design will take in 80 students this year, and the broadcast and media technology course, 40 students. Both will be conducted at ITE College Central in Ang Mo Kio.

Mr Heng Guan Teck, deputy chief executive officer (academic) of ITE, said: "We have introduced these courses based on industry demand, and to provide aspiring students in these fields with good career prospects and progression pathways."

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