Two years ago, Ms Jasmine Ng realised she needed to upgrade her skills after spending 12 months in vain looking for a new job. That was despite her six years’ experience working in the human resource (HR) sector.
“These days, companies expect you to hold a diploma or preferably a specialist diploma,” the 46-year-old mother says.
In October 2017, she decided to boost her employability by enroling in Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Specialist Diploma in Enhanced Human Resource (HR) Skills.
The Specialist Diploma course is part of the SP’s Professional & Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy, which provides certifiable courses leading to Part-Time Diplomas and Post Diplomas. PACE also offers many short but targeted skills training courses for individuals and corporations; Earn and Learn Programmes (ELP); Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP); Attach and Train (ANT) Programmes; and online programmes.
Up-skill and re-skill
Ms Juliana Ong, senior lecturer and course manager of the Specialist Diploma in Enhanced HR Skills, says the course aims to help working adults in any industry acquire or deepen their HR knowledge and skills in HR Technologies, HR Analytics, Design Thinking and Positive Psychology.
“As Singapore becomes an innovation-driven, manpower-lean economy, maximising people’s potential is increasingly important. HR is a critical enabler of all industry manpower plans and has a role to play to improve workforce engagement and human capital development. It is important to strengthen the capabilities of the HR profession and to raise the HR competency level and standards; both industry and nationwide,” she adds.
The course adopts a variety of teaching approaches to enhance students’ learning. The learning pedagogies comprise a combination of lectures, tutorials, e-learning, role-plays, case studies, presentations and practical hands-on activities.
Participants appreciate the applicability of the six modules in the Specialist Diploma in Enhanced HR Skills programme. They are taught updated industry-relevant HR Skills and knowledge to improve HR efficiency and effectiveness across various HR functions. The projects that the students work on are related to real issues at work. There is continual class sharing and co-creation as participants share views on real-life work challenges. Role playing is used to help participants deepen their skills at the workplace.
On a personal level, participants can also apply their knowledge and skills in Positive Psychology (the understanding of human mind and behaviours) in managing relationships with colleagues, family members, relatives and friends.
As adult learners have to juggle work and family commitments, the course is designed such that they need to only attend classroom lessons for one to two nights per week. E-learning is held every Saturday to allow participants to have self-directed learning.
Participants can choose to apply for a standalone post-diploma certificate (PDC) pathway. Participants who have completed all the modules within a PDC will be awarded a post-diploma certificate. They can also choose to enrol and complete a second PDC. Upon completion of two PDCs, the participant will be awarded the Specialist Diploma qualification from SP.
For each PDC course, the three modules run sequentially. For example PDC1, a 15-week course, the first module on Applied HR Technologies will be taught for the first three weeks, followed by the second module on HR Innovation through Design Thinking over the next five weeks and finally the last module on Applied HR Analytics for the remaining seven weeks. This means that the participants need to focus on one module at a time.
Several industry talks are organised every semester. Guest speakers are invited to share the latest trends in the HR Tech space, HR challenges and best practices.
Five months after she enroled in the course, Ms Ng was hired by a catering company Compass Group as an HR Business Partner. She enjoyed a 6-per-cent salary increment.
“The course helped to increase my professional knowledge and HR skills, and improved my work performance,” she says.