SINGAPORE - Four new SkillsFuture work-study programmes, offering a total of about 300 places over the next three years, are in the pipeline to meet manpower needs in emerging and growth sectors.
Three of these new programmes will be rolled out in October.
The work-study schemes allow adults to pursue higher qualifications while working.
In an address at a virtual SkillsFuture Work-Study Fair on Friday (Aug 13), Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said two memoranda of understanding have been signed between the higher learning institutes and the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF).
The tie-ups, Dr Maliki said, will allow tertiary institutions to tap the SBF's and SMF's networks - a total of 32,000 firms comprising mostly local small and medium-sized enterprises - and get more employers to sign up workers for work-study programmes.
The expansion of the work-study programmes builds on their success, said Dr Maliki. For instance, 96 per cent of those trained were employed six months after completion of their work-study programmes, according to a survey last year.
Since the launch of the programmes in 2015, more than 7,000 trainees and more than 1,600 companies have benefited from them.
"One example of a company that has benefited from the work-study programme is Raffles Hotel Singapore of the Accor Group," said Dr Maliki, citing how the hotel has recruited a total of 14 people from the programme, of whom five are still being trained.
Among them is National ITE Certificate (Nitec) graduate Benjamin Tong, 26. He enrolled in the Institute of Education's (ITE) Work-Study Diploma in Security Systems Engineering course as an assistant engineer with NEC Asia Pacific after being rejected from polytechnic courses due to a poor grade point average.
Upon completion of the work-study programme as part of ITE's pioneer cohort, he was given a pay increment of 5 per cent and entrusted with additional responsibilities, said Mr Tong.
He added: "I took a leap of faith three years ago by being part of the pioneer batch and I've found the programme very useful because I gained both work experience and knowledge, which is unlike a normal diploma that just involves studying."
Work-study programme trainee Sitaa Raam Visvanath, 25, is working towards a Specialist Diploma in Sustainable Energy Management jointly offered by the Singapore Institute of Technology and Temasek Polytechnic. He noted that the knowledge learnt under the scheme has complemented work projects such as retrofitting air conditioners.
The project engineer at Sunseap Solutions, a subsidiary of energy firm Sunseap Group, initially found juggling projects with studies in the evening a huge challenge. But he was grateful to have his department head Peter Goh to turn to for help in managing his time.
"Through learning how to manage my studies and work, I've become more disciplined with my time", he said. He added that this has helped him mentor other work-study programme trainees at the company.
With the addition of the four new work-study programmes, there are now 187 such programmes in total.
One of the three programmes to be offered in October is the Work-Study Post-Diploma (Specialist Diploma in AgriTechnology and AgriBusiness) jointly developed and delivered by Republic Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. The other two programmes are in business analytics and digital entertainment and events.
The SkillsFuture Work-Study Post-Diploma (WSQ Specialist Diploma in Aerospace) is the fourth new programme and will be rolled out in January next year. It will equip those who wish to pursue a career as a licensed aircraft engineer.
The scheme will include practical training and prepare participants for examinations conducted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore.