When Mr Ng Zhi Wei enrolled in a Nitec course in space design at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) in 2013, he was greeted with puzzled looks from some of his friends and family.
He did it in a bid to switch from the financial sector to interior design.
"They were curious and maybe there were (perceptions) that were left unexpressed - perhaps they thought the (interior design) industry was not something that university graduates would consider," recalled Mr Ng, 32.
Even though he was earning a stable income as a wealth management adviser - a job he had had since he was 21 - he wanted to reconnect with his "long-lost passion" for art and design.
Around 2011, the Singapore Management University business graduate started dabbling in interior design by taking up a few short courses at private schools.
BRINGING VALUE TO OTHERS
Having the chance to attend both university and ITE has enabled me to be more all-rounded and to utilise my skill sets to bring value to people's lives.
MR NG ZHI WEI, an SMU business graduate and wealth management adviser who is taking a Nitec course in space design at ITE.
"But I sometimes had questions after class that were left unanswered. Some of my designs were just hand sketches and not up to scratch," he said.
After seeing an online advertisement, he enrolled in the part-time Nitec course at ITE College Central in Ang Mo Kio. He learnt core skills that were needed for a career in interior design, including using technology to present his designs to potential clients.
In 2014, he and his wife founded their own interior design firm. He continues to work in his previous job on a part-time basis.
He has completed five out of six modules needed for the Nitec certification and hopes to complete his last module next year.
His firm - The Minimalist Society - has seen a 40 per cent growth in client numbers.
"Having the chance to attend both university and ITE has enabled me to be more all-rounded and to utilise my skill sets to bring value to people's lives."