Degrees not the only key to bright future

Degrees not the only key to bright future
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduates at their convocation ceremony in July this year.

FOR students here, there are many different routes towards a bright future - and not all involve a paper chase or degrees.

"Look for the best ways to learn. Learn what is relevant, and apply that," said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

In his National Day Rally speech last night, PM Lee said that the Government will help polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates get into jobs for which they were trained and have the right skills for.

This is in line with recommendations from the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review committee.

The committee, headed by Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah, reviewed the applied education model at polytechnics and ITEs.

Its recommendations, to be released in full soon, will help individuals to progress and upgrade after they have graduated and started work, said PM Lee.

Fittingly, he was speaking at the ITE College Central in Ang Mo Kio.

Employers, for their part, should work towards a "culture shift" in helping employees advance in their careers, whether they are university graduates or not, added PM Lee.

Noting that the public service already offers fulfilling careers to those without a degree, he said that the recent enhancements to nurses' pay and careers, for example, will help them to upgrade and progress.

Many of them started off without a degree, and worked their way up, he explained.

Still, PM Lee gave the assurance that the public service "can and will do more", as it will put more weight on job performance and relevant skills rather than starting qualifications.

It will also merge more graduate and non-graduate schemes to give everyone the same opportunities for the same career track, and promote non-graduates more quickly to what used to be considered graduate-level jobs, once they prove their mettle.

PM Lee cited the success story of Roy Lim, an employee at Keppel Offshore and Marine.

He climbed in his career to become a shipyard manager, even though he left school after Secondary 2.

Pointing out that Mr Lim was able to complete his ITE courses with the support of his employer, PM Lee said: "So long as you work hard, you can always hope for a brighter future."

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