SINGAPORE - Employers in the chemical industry are looking forward to better-qualified rookies who will need less on-the-job training when they start work.
Students will have more practical tasks during industrial attachments and be certified by the authorities upon completing them, under a new agreement inked on Tuesday.
The change could save firms like Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore "a couple of months" worth of training, said its plant general manager Lucas Ng.
"Chemical plants are quite challenging environments, so a lot of training in plant safety, chemical processes and operations is needed," he said, adding that they usually spend around a year training new hires.
Students will be better skilled because of a new partnership between schools, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and Petrofac Training Institute (PTI), which does training for the chemical industry.
After their industrial attachments, students of chemical engineering and related disciplines at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and four polytechnics will receive a Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications certificate in process technology. A similar arrangement is in place in the aerospace industry.
Under the revised syllabus, students will spend around 70 per cent of their time doing practical activities, said Mr Paul Jones, country manager of PTI. Previously, their time was divided evenly between hands-on training and academic learning.
Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Manpower and Health, who witnessed the signing, said this change "ensures that the training students undergo during the (attachment) has been validated by the chemical industry and is attuned to the actual needs of the workplace".
Temasek Polytechnic chemical engineering student Clarissa Yew said the attachment was the first time she had operated equipment used in a working chemical plant.
"Here, we can afford to make mistakes and learn to troubleshoot the consequences," said the 20-year-old, who will be starting work at Mitsui Chemicals next year.
"I feel more prepared."
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