Shorter, bite-sized courses for poly grads soon

Shorter, bite-sized courses for poly grads soon
Ngee Ann Poly Graduation Ceremony

Polytechnic graduates will soon be able to upgrade their skills through bite-sized courses in industries such as applied sciences and engineering.

From October, they can enrol in 10 enhanced post-diploma certificate (PDC) courses.

The stand-alone modules will be shorter than the existing post-diploma programmes that last between one and two years.

Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah announced the courses yesterday at the first of Temasek Polytechnic's graduation ceremonies.

The initiative is part of the SkillsFuture movement to encourage Singaporeans to develop specialised industry skills and adopt the habit of lifelong learning.

Ms Indranee said: "While your diploma prepares you well to embark on careers in related fields, those who had not done so immediately after graduation, whether to serve national service, or to pursue jobs in other fields, found it daunting to return to the field for which they were trained.

"Polytechnic graduates who wish to re-enter the industry for which they were trained will thus be able to get equipped with the skills that they need to do so in a much shorter time."

Individuals from a relevant polytechnic course can start applying for the courses two years after they graduate.

For instance, graduates in cyber security or information technology can take a course in mobile enterprise and security at Nanyang Polytechnic, while those who studied aerospace technology or engineering can opt for a shipyard operations course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Currently, students can take these courses only as part of part-time advanced diploma or specialist diploma courses, which take one to two years to complete. The new courses are run on a full-time basis and last one to two months.

Applicants can pick courses relevant to them, rather than complete an entire diploma course.

Credits earned from the courses, which will run twice a year in July and October, count towards advanced or specialist diplomas.

Fees will be waived for Singaporeans taking their first PDC course. The Education Ministry will subsidise 85 per cent of fees for subsequent courses.

Some polytechnic graduates said the enhanced PDC courses will help to refresh their skills.

"Having relevant, up-to-date skills is important in my job," said Ms Nurul Rasyiqah, 20, a Temasek Polytechnic aerospace electronics graduate who is now a junior aircraft maintenance engineer.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic also held its first graduation ceremony this year, for 300 film and media students.

Principal Clarence Ti highlighted the importance of internships, citing a recent survey by the polytechnic that found internships gave students more certainty in their career plans.

Only 18 per cent were still undecided about what to do after graduation after their internships, compared to 32 per cent who were unsure before their placements.

Internships allow "students to experience the workplace directly and not just as an abstract idea", said Mr Ti.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin, the event's guest of honour, said: "The world is changing incredibly quickly. Some things you studied when you first came in may actually have moved on... some things may become obsolete."

At Singapore Polytechnic, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong told 320 business school graduates: "What happens in your first 16 to 18 years of education is only part of your journey of lifelong learning."

More than 25,800 students at Singapore's five polytechnics are graduating this year.

This article was first published on May 19, 2015.
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