Institutes of higher learning will offer courses to graduates to boost employability during Covid-19 pandemic

Encouraging graduates to choose courses that could stretch their versatility, Mr Ong said.
Encouraging graduates to choose courses that could stretch their versatility, Mr Ong said.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and universities will soon be able to apply for new courses that offer additional professional certificates - advanced diploma certificates, post-diploma certificates or postgraduate certificates.

ITE will launch about 250 courses, while polytechnics and universities will offer about 100 courses each, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said during a radio interview on Thursday (June 11).

Registration and admission will begin this month (June) and could stretch to August, he added. The courses will run for about three to six months.

Encouraging graduates to choose courses that could "stretch their versatility", Mr Ong said: "For example, if I am an arts graduate, I may want to do something in IT, because to know arts and IT - that is something interesting. If you are an engineer, maybe do something in writing, communications, or learn a third language even."

The minister was speaking about options available for graduates seeking jobs this year during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Graduating students entering the job market during a recession can have two different reactions, he said.

"One is, you will say, 'Why am I so suay (Hokkien for unlucky)?'

"But there is another way to look at it, which is that this is actually an opportunity. We know now learning is for life, and you don't have to have one path or course in university, poly or ITE, and then pursue that one career throughout your life without any change. We know that is no longer possible. A career will be full of twists and turns and you have to constantly learn and re-learn.

"What is very important, is whatever you learn must form your human capital, your personal skills base, and you keep on adding to it. That I think is the mindset that is most needed now for all our graduates."


When future employers ask graduates what they were doing in 2020, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, they should "have a good story to tell", said Mr Ong.

Be it taking up extra courses, doing volunteer work and helping those in need, or even becoming a swabber and contributing to the fight against Covid-19, these are valuable learning opportunities that will count, he added.

Various measures and programmes have been rolled out for graduating students unable to find a job this year.

Among these are the SG United Traineeships programme, under which paid placements will be available, including at local universities and start-ups; as well as free continuing education and training modules offered by the six autonomous universities.