UniSIM to offer degree course in social work

Four-year programme starting next year to focus on hands-on, practice-based learning

SIM University (UniSIM) will offer a Bachelor of Social Work degree from next year.
SIM University (UniSIM) will offer a Bachelor of Social Work degree from next year.PHOTO: MICA

Singaporeans who have the calling for social work will have another degree pathway from next year.

SIM University (UniSIM), which started offering full-time degrees last year, will offer a Bachelor of Social Work degree from next year.

The National University of Singapore offers a social work specialisation within its Bachelor of Social Sciences degree.

The focus of UniSIM's new social work degree course will be hands- on, practice-based learning, like with other UniSIM degree courses.

All students enrolled in the four-year direct honours programme must complete and pass 1,000 hours of supervised social work in volunteer welfare organisations to graduate. They will also be required to go abroad to undertake a service-learning project.

The intensive internship will enable them to apply immediately upon graduation to the Singapore Association of Social Workers as a Registered Social Worker-Provisional.

UniSIM provost Tsui Kai Chong said the new degree will help meet the need for more social workers.

"The sector, which has about 1,400 accredited professionals, experiences an annual shortfall of around 130 social workers," he said.

With the accreditation, he said, prospective employers will be assured that candidates have the right training and are competent. "This will enhance their employability and professional image," he said.

Graduates can have enriching careers in family service centres, children and youth centres, hospitals, hospices and other community or social service agencies, he added.

UniSIM will also launch a full- time degree course next year dedicated to a comprehensive study of logistics and supply chain management. The other universities offer supply chain management courses in business or engineering schools.

The new course was developed in collaboration with the Singapore Logistics Association (SLA).

Prof Tsui said UniSIM works closely with industry bodies like SLA to ensure the curriculum is relevant to the industry. He said students will get to apply what they learn to scenarios in the business world through work- based assignments, case studies, industry talks, local and overseas site visits, and the compulsory applied project.

Graduates from the course have promising job prospects, he said.

"The logistics and supply chain management industry is a key pillar of Singapore's economy. Global companies in new growth sectors - such as aerospace, biomedical sciences, chemical, energy, and oil and gas - have chosen Singapore as their key global and regional base in Asia," said Prof Tsui.

With the two new full-time degree courses on top of the current four - in marketing, finance, accountancy and human resource management - UniSIM's intake will rise to 370 next year.

A-level holder Teresa Tan, 20, is keen on the social work degree and likes UniSIM's focus on hands-on learning. She said: "I have always wanted to work with children at risk and I learn best by doing.

"So, UniSIM sounds like a good fit for me."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2015, with the headline 'UniSIM to offer degree course in social work'. Subscribe