There will be more avenues for Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates to pursue diplomas that will allow them to work and study at the same time.
The institution will be offering 10 new Work-Learn Technical Diplomas (WLTD) from April next year, with places for about 350 trainees.
Students in the courses, which cut across areas like port automation technology, microelectronics, and hotel and restaurant management, will spend 70 per cent of curriculum time training on the job.
The programmes, developed together with employers to ensure that they are relevant to the industries, will be between 2½ and three years. Registration starts on Monday at the ITE website.
ITE chief executive Low Khah Gek announced the new diplomas yesterday at a signing ceremony involving 113 firms and industry partners.
ITE first launched four such diplomas courses in April this year to provide a skills-based avenue for its graduates to upgrade and build their careers. There are currently more than 100 trainees in 33 companies pursuing these diplomas.
Beyond looking at academic grades, academic achievements, (the applied universities) also look at your work experience and your skills, and then are able to take in students on that basis. So I think the doors are also opening wider and wider.
EDUCATION MINISTER ONG YE KUNG, on how ITE graduates can gain admission into universities using their work experiences.
Speaking at ITE's Ang Mo Kio headquarters, Ms Low said the WLTD pathway is another option for ITE graduates, besides the full-time and part-time diploma programmes. She said that the ITE will continue to work with industry partners to come up with more such diplomas.
It aims to provide 7 per cent of each ITE cohort with places in such diploma programmes by 2022. If demand is strong, the figure could go up to 10 per cent, she added.
In a speech at yesterday's ceremony, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said some ITE graduates have told him during dialogues that they are attracted to the new work-study diplomas over polytechnic diplomas because they like hands-on work and learning on the job.
Yet they still ask him if they can go on to university, he said.
"Taking Work-Learn Technical Diploma is to learn skills especially from the employers and you go on a different path," he said.
But he also noted that it is still possible for them to get a degree with the newer universities such as the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Social Sciences, where learning is more applied and relevant to work skills.
"Beyond looking at academic grades, academic achievements, (the applied universities) also look at your work experience and your skills, and then are able to take in students on that basis.
"So I think the doors are also opening wider and wider. We are not lowering standards, we are keeping high standards, not measured by one yardstick, but by different standards," he said.
Ms Low also thanked ITE's industry partners for offering training and expertise. "The industry (players) are ITE's training partners - we develop the curriculum together, we determine the skills and standards together, we also deliver the training together," she said.
"This approach benefits both the industries and the ITE graduates. Industries are assured of having workers equipped with the relevant skills, while ITE graduates have an upgrading pathway that suits their learning style as well as enable them to achieve a diploma and career progression."