Work or study? She does both

Work or study? She does both
Valuable: Ms Shanice Sim with her boss, Mr Ho Yeeng Lougn.

SINGAPORE - Her parents wanted her to pursue a degree right after she graduated from Republic Polytechnic (RP) last year.

But Ms Shanice Sim, 21, who graduated with a diploma in Sonic Arts last year, wanted to get job experience first, especially in the music industry.

And she thought that while working, she could also upgrade her skills in a related field.

On Aug 5, she enrolled in a Dance Music DJ-ing and production course, and switched to part-time duties at her job.

The course is a collaboration between RP and Zouk nightclub.

Ms Sim was working full-time at City Music where she had been an intern.

The company deals with traditional acoustic and state-of-the-art musical instruments and equipment.

Ms Sim, who has been with the company since last October, said she is lucky to be able to work and study at the same time. For many of her peers, it's a decision between studying or working full-time.

She said: "I've always been interested in that course, but I've never felt brave enough to pursue it because it's a male-dominated industry.

"But I've matured because of my experiences (at school and work) and I thought that I should just take the chance to further my interest."

She hopes that the five-week-long course, at the Academy for Continuing Education at RP, will help her to expand her knowledge in the music industry.

Graduates from polytechnic and ITE like Miss Sim might soon find it easier to work and study.

The Applied Study in Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) review (Aspire) recommended place-and-train programmes for ITE and polytechnic graduates in selected industries from 2016.

Ms Sim's boss, director of sales Hoe Yeeng Lougn, 39, supports her decision although it means having to cope with less manpower.

"Our industry is niche and I can't just hire anyone who sells shoes, for instance," he said.


"But I've always been impressed by Shanice, who is responsible and has a good attitude. We have already invested in training her. Although she is working part-time, each hour she contributes is productive."

For Ms Sim, who works as a sales adviser at the company, working and studying means less pay.

As her job is based on commission, Ms Sim earns about $1,000 a month, 30 to 50 per cent less than she used to earn.

As a full-timer, Ms Sim used to work from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 7pm. Since her course started early this month, she has had to skip work on Tuesdays and Thursday to do course-related work and then attend classes from 7pm to 10pm.

She will continue to sign up for more related courses before deciding if she wants to go for a degree. She plans to eventually work as a club DJ or in a music production studio.

She said: "I see less pay as a small sacrifice because I'm furthering myself in a related field that I am passionate about.

"My parents still nag me occasionally to get a degree, but I think they have slowly accepted my decision because I'm working hard towards something I love."

Other changes to come

Education and career guidance officers to be stationed in about 50 secondary schools, junior colleges, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) in a pilot from next year.

Longer internships for polytechnic and ITE students in sectors such as built environment; early childhood education; hotel operations and management; and marine and offshore engineering.

100 more Higher Nitec places, primarily in engineering and info-communication courses, from next year.

Polytechnic and ITE colleges to partner and coordinate for their students working with the industry: Singapore Polytechnic for food technology, Ngee Ann Polytechnic for marine and offshore engineering and Republic Polytechnic for logistics.

Support vocation-based deployments during National Service to help poly and ITE graduates maintain their skills.

This article was first published on August 26, 2014.
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