ITE's new 5-year roadmap focuses on deepening skills through industry internships
Going to a polytechnic after ITE is not the only pathway to success, says Mr Bruce Poh, director and chief executive officer of the Institute of Technical Education.
Instead, furthering skills in a particular career is another way to work towards a rewarding career, said Mr Poh.
He was speaking at a press conference to announce ITE Trailblazer- ITE's strategic plans for the next five years yesterday.
Now, more than one in four ITE students make it to the polytechnics. A decade ago, only one in 10 qualified.
For now, there are no plans to increase the figures as that would run counter to ITE's strategic plans, said Mr Poh.
"For students who are graduating from ITE, they should actually be thinking of deepening their skills.
"Many initiatives will focus on that, such as working with companies, applied learning and enhanced internships," he added.
In line with ITE's last strategic roadmap for 2010 to 2014, 47 new full-time courses were introduced over that period.
It now offers 101 full-time courses, including three niche diplomas, 41 Higher Nitec courses and 57 Nitec courses.
This time, to deal with a fast-changing economic and social landscape, ITE will shift from a trade-specific preparation model to a career-orientated, professional skills preparation model, said Mr Poh.
This means that an ITE student will build foundation skills and competencies that will help him move from one job to another within an industry, instead of just focusing on one trade.
One example is Mr Lim Wei Jie, 19, a second-year ITE student who is pursuing a Nitec course in Business Services and takes modules in finance, human resources and accounting.
He thinks this exposure will be useful for his future job experiences and plans to start working after competing his ITE course. (See report on right.)
Mr Poh acknowledged that many students have a "one-track" idea of success - going from ITE to polytechnic to university. He highlighted the importance of career guidance, which is one of the thrusts of the strategic plan.
Noting that ITE students are "hands-on" learners, deputy CEO (Corporate) Sabrina Loi said: "Ultimately, we want students to believe that they can be a success through establishing deep skills in their careers rather than pursuing paper qualifications.
"If you are a chef, you can be a great chef and if you want to go further, you just need to learn the skills and hone your craft (and) you can also be very successful."
Work first, diploma can wait
He has a perfect GPA of 4.0 and hopes to pursue a higher Nitec course in Human Resources next year.
Although he can probably qualify for polytechnic after graduation, Mr Lim Wei Jie, 19, a second-year business services student at ITE College Central, wants to work first.
He hopes to join the police force as an on-ground officer or an administrative officer.
Mr Lim, who is also the president of the student council at ITE, said: "I was in the National Police Cadet Corps when I was in secondary school and I learnt many important lessons about character building and respect. I also want to contribute back to society."
Mr Lim thinks that his training at ITE will stand him in good stead in his future job. For example, he is confident of crafting e-mails and working with spreadsheets.
The Ace talent development programme for top students at ITE which he is a part of has also helped him to hone soft skills such as public speaking.
Mr Lim's parents support his plan to start working instead of pursuing a diploma.
"They are supportive because they realise that I know what I want to do.
"While qualifications are important, I think skills (on the job) are equally important to excel in a career."
Ultimately, we want students to believe that they can be a success through establishing deep skills in their careers rather than pursuing paper qualifications.
- Ms Sabrina Loi (above), deputy CEO (Corporate) of ITE
They are supportive of my journey because they realise that I know what I want to do. While qualifications are important, I think skills (on the job) are equally important to excel in a career.
- Mr Lim Wei Jie (above), 19, on his parents supporting his plan to start working instead of pursuing a diploma
This article was first published on Feb 17, 2015.
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