More than 200 polytechnic students to go on work attachments abroad each year

SINGAPORE - More than 200 polytechnic students will get to go abroad for work stints every year, in an effort to prepare them for the global workforce.

Trade agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore signed agreements on Monday with the five polytechnics to extend overseas internship opportunities to their students under the Young Talent Programme (YTP).

The YTP, which started in 2013, offers funding for international job attachments. It was previously only for students in the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.

The scheme, which has supported more than 1,400 university students since its launch, aims to develop and attract young talent to meet the needs of local companies with operations abroad.

A recent IE Singapore survey, from November 2014 to February this year found that 40 per cent of Singapore companies wanted to increase the number of global roles for their staff in the next one year, but had challenges finding suitable candidates.

IE Singapore chief executive Teo Eng Cheong said that the business and education sectors both face challenges and opportunities brought about by globalisation and advances in technology.

With the new agreements, more Singaporeans will be able to "acquire skills and experiences necessary to operate overseas", he said.

"They form the pipeline of talent critical to our Singapore companies becoming globally competitive."

Mr Teo said that IE Singapore and the polytechnics will work closely to increase overseas work stint opportunities and encourage polytechnic students to apply for them.

Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, who was at the event, said in a speech that the YTP helps to expand students' educational experiences.

It gives them a chance to develop a curiosity to learn and seek answers to problems, as well as a global perspective that extends beyond Singapore, he said.

"And if time and resources permit, we should ideally see as much of the world as we can, and live in those places," he added.

"We try not to do that from a tour bus, we try not to see the world through souvenir shops."

Mr Ong, who is in charge of higher education and skills, also urged students to stay rooted to Singapore and be confident to "project the values and characteristics of a good Singaporean".