Juggling work, school pays off for SIT grad on SkillsFuture course

Mr Chua Kah Sheng, 26, was one of 14 graduates this year from the Singapore Institute of Technology who were part of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Mr Chua Kah Sheng, 26, was one of 14 graduates this year from the Singapore Institute of Technology who were part of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

In his final year of university, Mr Chua Kah Sheng attended school for only half a day each week.

The other 41/2 days were spent at the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), where he was doing a year-long internship in data analytics.

He was one of 14 graduates this year from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) who were part of the SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme.

They made up the pioneer batch from the university to graduate under the programme, which was launched in 2017 at SIT and SIM University, now known as the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Mr Chua, 26, who received a bachelor's degree with honours in information and communications technology (software engineering), was speaking to The Straits Times after his graduation ceremony yesterday at The Theatre at Mediacorp.

A total of 1,868 graduates - SIT's largest cohort thus far - will receive their degree certificates over three days, till tomorrow.

Under the work-study programme, which draws inspiration from the German and Swiss system of apprenticeship, students keen on careers in growth sectors such as information security and hospitality business, can go to work in selected companies and receive full or partial sponsorship to study at either university.

Mr Chua, who received a partial sponsorship from DSTA for his 31/2-year course, now works as a data analytics engineer there. The role involves coding and programming.

Juggling work and school was initially challenging, he said, but he was able to turn to both his supervisors in the agency and his SIT professors for help.

 
 
 

"It was not just an internship. When I had problems in school, I could give a call to my boss at work and she would give me advice.

"The experience and skills I picked up during my internship were applicable to my school modules as well.

"I am able to better think from the user's perspective - like how the solution I've come up with can be of use to them - instead of doing something for the sake of doing it.

"I think the key takeaway from this experience would be the skills I've learnt - technical and soft."


VALUABLE SKILLS

The experience and skills I picked up during my internship were applicable to my school modules as well. I am able to better think from the user's perspective... I think the key takeaway from this experience would be the skills I've learnt - technical and soft.

MR CHUA KAH SHENG, who did a year-long internship at DSTA during his studies and is now a data analytics engineer there.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2019, with the headline 'Juggling work, school pays off for SIT grad on SkillsFuture course'. Print Edition | Subscribe