More work-study opportunities in emerging and growth sectors

The Singapore Institute of Technology is among the higher learning institutes here which offer SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programmes. Individuals who join these programmes hold a job in a company while upgrading their qualifications through part-
The Singapore Institute of Technology is among the higher learning institutes here which offer SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programmes. Individuals who join these programmes hold a job in a company while upgrading their qualifications through part-time classes. PHOTO: SIT
The Singapore Institute of Technology is among the higher learning institutes here which offer SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programmes. Individuals who join these programmes hold a job in a company while upgrading their qualifications through part-
MINISTER OF STATE FOR EDUCATION AND MANPOWER GAN SIOW HUANG.

Singaporeans will be offered more work-study opportunities in emerging and growth sectors with the introduction of four new SkillsFuture work-study programmes.

Introduced by higher learning institutes, these programmes will offer more than 140 places over the next two years.

One of them, a Bachelor of Technology in computing, will be rolled out this month by the National University of Singapore, in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore as well as Singapore-based global consumer Internet company Sea.

It will be the first SkillsFuture Work-Study Degree Programme to be delivered in a "place-and-train" mode, with participants hired as full-time junior analysts prior to the start of the programme.

The new programmes were announced by Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang at a virtual SkillsFuture Work-Study Fair yesterday.

The work-study scheme is targeted at fresh polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates. Individuals who join these programmes hold a job that is as good as being a full-timer in a company, while upgrading their qualification to a specialist or advanced diploma through part-time classes.

As part of the new partnership, Sea will hire up to 120 students over the next five years.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic graduates have been invited to apply for the first intake of this programme, while enrolment for subsequent intakes will be open to eligible polytechnic graduates from relevant disciplines.

Participants will undergo workplace-based training, assignments and assessments, which will contribute close to 30 per cent of credits towards the degree.

Trainees who graduate at the end of the 31/2-year programme will have the opportunity to become full-time analysts in the company.

The other three new SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes, in the biomedical sciences and media sectors, were launched by Nanyang Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.

Ms Gan noted yesterday that many students have had concerns about their graduate employment prospects due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has not only changed our way of life, but also significantly disrupted our economy. Recovery will take time and the job market will be challenging in the coming years."

Encouraging fresh graduates to consider taking up work-study programmes, she added: "Besides conferring a higher educational qualification, (the programmes) allow participating students to continue honing their industry-relevant skill sets through on-the-job training and work-based projects.

"From the employers' perspective, these programmes enable companies to build their talent pipeline early. This is especially crucial to companies looking to jump-start their post-pandemic recovery."

Ms Gan also announced a new portal that has been set up to enable students and graduates to learn more about SkillsFuture Work-Study Programmes and sign up for the opportunities posted by participating companies.

Employers can also use the portal to register their interest to participate in the work-study programmes, post job vacancies and hire suitable trainees.

Over 130 such opportunities are currently featured on the portal.

The SkillsFuture Work-Study Programme was inspired by the German and Swiss tradition of apprenticeships, and was first unveiled in 2015. It started with 15 programmes across 12 sectors, and has now expanded to 173 programmes across 36 sectors.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2020, with the headline More work-study opportunities in emerging and growth sectors. Subscribe