BY SIA LING XIN
SINGAPOREAN students studying in Australia can now attend a career forum - to be held here regularly just for them - that will help improve their chances of getting a job here.
The forum, called The Meeting Point, will be held during the summer holidays of Australian schools, which last from December to February.
As part of the event, networking activities with prospective employers from both the public and private sectors, such as the Public Service Division and Bloomberg, will also be organised.
The forum is the first project by the Network of Singaporean Students in Australia (NSSA), an umbrella organisation formed last November to represent 19 Singapore student associations in universities across Australia.
There are platforms to keep overseas talents updated on job opportunities in Singapore, but they are not specific to overseas Singaporeans, or those in Australian universities, said the network's vice-president, Mr Ian Ang, 22, a fourth-year chemical- engineering student at the University of New South Wales.
He said: "Many Singaporeans who go to Australia for their degrees later face difficulties when trying to enter the Singapore job market, because their graduation period is...in conflict with the hiring windows of many companies."
More than 300 students attended the event's first run yesterday.
It was promising turnout, said Mr Ang.
Guest of honour Vivian Balakrishnan, who is the Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, said that it is "pertinent to address the issue of employment opportunities for our returning graduates" because of the large number of Singaporeans studying overseas.
About 7,800 Singaporeans enrolled for studies in Australia last year, he said. He added that while there may be concerns over the job market, as long as one possesses the qualities and aptitude needed for a job, one will be gainfully employed.
Ms Joanne Tham, 20, a first-year communications student at the University of Melbourne, found the seminar "insightful and enriching".
It made her think about her plans for the future, she said.
"I plan to work in Australia for a couple of years but, eventually, I want to return home, so such networking sessions are very useful for keeping me connected," she said.
In addition to yesterday's event, Contact Singapore - an alliance between the Economic Development Board and the Ministry of Manpower - maintains active links with Singaporeans studying in Australia through a series of initiatives.
These include the annual Careers@Singapore event held in Singapore every January for students who are back in Singapore during their summer breaks, career events and talks in Australia, as well as regular updates for members of Singapore student associations in Australian universities.
Similarly, Contact Singapore reaches out to Singaporean students studying in Britain and the United States through career events and talks in various cities, as well as regular updates through electronic mailers.
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