SINGAPORE - With a 3.81 grade point average in her final year at Temasek Polytechnic, Ms Ang Jing Xuan could have gone on to university but chose instead to sign up for the Work-Study Programme offered by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) to gain work experience.
After four years at regional data analytics company Azendian Solutions, the freelance data consultant, 25, is pursuing a part-time degree in business analytics at the National University of Singapore.
Said Ms Ang: "The Work-Study Programme provides a hands-on approach and makes the learning curve between studying and working less steep."
Four new courses will be added to the SkillsFuture Work-Study initiative next year. Customer experience management, agriculture and aquaculture technology, and facilities management will be offered by the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), and aerospace engineering by Singapore Polytechnic.
Speaking at the launch of Work-Study Fair 2022 at Temasek Polytechnic on Thursday (Aug 11), Mr Foo Piao Zhou, group director of training partners group at SSG, said the initiative gives graduates opportunities to learn industry-relevant skills and constantly reinvent themselves.
Over 9,000 individuals are either undertaking or have graduated from the SkillsFuture Work-Study Programme, which features over 190 courses by the polytechnics and ITE.
The programme enables polytechnic and ITE graduates to gain industry-recognised qualifications with on-the-job training and classroom learning.
SSG launched the initiative as Earn and Learn in 2015. It was renamed the Work-Study Programme in 2019.
In his speech at the launch of the Work-Study Fair, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman highlighted the importance of upskilling as Singapore recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Given the uncertain business outlook, employers were cautious in hiring fresh graduates during the pandemic," he said.
"(But) with the post-Covid-19 recovery under way, and as institutes of higher learning pressed on with efforts to grow work-study opportunities, we have seen a dramatic increase in take-up and placement rates."
About 1,200 students have been offered work-study placements with companies in the first half of 2022, compared with 1,400 students in the whole of 2021, Dr Maliki noted.
The one-day fair, in its sixth edition, returned this year as a hybrid event after two years of virtual interactions. It aims to introduce graduates to work-study opportunities and showcase industry partnerships.
Over 2,000 students took part in 18 webinars, learning about work-study and career opportunities from employers in industries such as healthcare and manufacturing, and 12 companies - including IT services and consulting firm Accenture and Nordic Group, which provides systems integration, maintenance, precision engineering and other solutions - received appreciation awards for their strong support of the initiative.
Mr Kevin Koh, managing director at Accenture, said: "Digitisation has been accelerating in the past few years, and hence the demand for talent in technology will continue to rise at a quick pace.
"For us, this programme is a chance to widen our talent pipeline and train them to be at the forefront of the industry."