Sat, Feb 21, 2009
The Straits Times
NP grads gain big 'Advantage'

STUDENTS graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) this year can look forward to some help in getting a foot in the door in their job quest.

The school in Clementi Road will run 16 'specialist diplomas' for graduating students in courses such as Franchise and Enterprise Management, Theatre Arts and Event Hosting, and Marine and Offshore Technology.

Students who take up these six- to nine-month courses will intern three days each week at participating companies, and go to school on two days a week.

The postgraduate diploma courses, which are open to 320 students, cost $500 for Singaporeans after government subsidies. The school will give them an allowance of $300 for transport and meals if companies do not.

The new courses are one component of the 'NP Advantage', a one-time $2 million package aimed at 2,300 students graduating in May.

Said Mr Chia Mia Chiang, 56, principal of NP: 'The job market this year is not so rosy, and many of our students may not get a job. We thought about what NP could do.'

The second component is an interest-free loan scheme. This will benefit 100 graduates who need financing help for pursuing a degree in a private institution that offers overseas education here.

They can take a loan of up to $5,000 in the first year and possibly another $5,000 in the second year, depending on their performance.

Ms Nicole Cheong, 21, who will graduate with a diploma in business and financial services, is eyeing the loan if she does not make it to a public university. 'It will surely help to lessen the financial burden. After all, it's interest-free,' she said.

The third component will offer 50 NP graduates jobs as full-time project or research assistants on the campus.

The $900,000 for these 50 jobs was funded by the Ministry of Education. The money for the rest of the package came mostly from NP's own fundraising.

Mr Chia said that the package was not an easy option for graduates, and that it is mainly those who actively seek opportunities without success who will benefit from it.


This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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