Poly and ITE students get more opportunities to learn and work at the same time

Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung at a visit to SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) partner PSA Singapore. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - From this year onwards, more polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates will have opportunities to work and earn qualifications at the same time, with the expansion of the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP).

Not only will there be more programmes from a wider range of industrial sectors, students can now apply for the programme before they enlist in National Service (NS) and up to three years after finishing NS or graduating from school.

Previously, they could apply only after finishing NS and not more than a year after graduation.

There will be 60 programmes this year, compared to 40 last year, and 1,000 participants are expected, up from 500 last year.

New sectors offering the ELP include building services, human resource, medical technology and sports and wellness.

SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) is an agency set up by the Government to provide opportunities for Singaporeans to learn new skills throughout life.

Speaking on Wednesday (Mar 29) at a visit to ELP partner PSA Singapore, Minister of Education (Higher Education and Skills), Mr Ong Ye Kung said: "Over time the selection criteria (for institutes of higher learning, companies etc.) will emphasise less on academic grades, that will hopefully free up space for students to learn other things that are useful in life. Education is about experience, not just attending lessons... It (SkillsFuture) not just changes the way education is delivered but is also a way to reach out to existing workers to continue to learn."

SSG is also looking into opportunities for ELP participants to study some modules at Singapore universities, with the view of them eventually getting degrees.

For example, Temasek Polytechnic already has plans to work with the Singapore University of Social Sciences and Singapore Institute of Technology in this area.

SSG chief executive Ng Cher Pong said the ELP enhancements will help polytechnic and ITE graduates master skills and achieve their career goals.

Correction note: This story has been edited to clarify that SkillsFuture Singapore is an agency. We are sorry for the error.

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