NS servicemen may get postings to match their skills

NS servicemen may get postings to match their skills

SINGAPORE - Graduates of polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) could be posted to national service (NS) vocations that match their studies.

The Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (Aspire) committee said in its report yesterday that it supports a recommendation of the Committee to Strengthen National Service to take into account the skills and prior training of full-time national servicemen (NSFs) in their NS deployment.

About 10,000 polytechnic and 4,500 ITE graduates are enlisted into NS every year.

The polytechnics and the ITE will work closely with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to identify postings for students. The move is aimed at helping NSFs maintain their skills during the two years of service, and speed up the transition to working life.

Mindef manpower director Teo Eng Dih said taking into account existing skills "will help to provide NSFs with a better NS experience and allow the SAF to benefit from the skills and competencies NSFs already have".

An MHA spokesman said assigning NSFs to vocations based on their skills has already been part of the Home Team's strategy, which allows them to "maximise their potential" and results in a more "meaningful stint for our NSFs".

The move could see NSFs with Higher Nitec qualifications in paramedic and emergency care becoming medics, and those with information security diplomas being deployed to IT-related vocations.

Mr Teo Ye Wei, 28, a Singapore Polytechnic (SP) aeronautical engineering graduate, was posted to the Republic of Singapore Air Force for his NS. As a flight line crew member, his job was to inspect planesand check components.

"It was a coincidence that my vocation matched what I studied," said Mr Teo, now a lecturer in SP's aeronautical engineering course.

"It was an eye-opener as I saw in action things I had learnt in theory.

"It would be good if more students have the chance to go into vocations that suit their skills, but not every course has a matching posting."

This article was first published on August 26, 2014.
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