UNIVERSITIES are not the only ones this year coming up with new courses geared towards meeting Singapore's workforce needs.
Since the beginning of this year, local polytechnics have launched eight new part-time programmes for fresh graduates, with about 24 more planned for the rest of 2017.
Working adults can also look forward to more modular courses under the Continuing Education and Training (CET) programme.
Last Wednesday (March 29), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) announced that it is expanding its Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) this year to include 60 programmes, up from 40 in 2016.
A work-learn programme targeted at recent polytechnic and ITE graduates, the ELP helps participants build on skills acquired in school to smoothen their transition into the workforce. While ELPs are currently only available at polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will begin offering the programmes this year, leading to an ITE Technical Diploma.
SSG chief executive Ng Cher Pong said: "The enhancements to the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme will allow more polytechnic and ITE students to combine gaining work experience with pursuing more structured learning. By doing so, they will be better placed to achieve their career goals and work towards skills mastery."
The ELPs will also be available to more recent graduates starting this year, as the eligibility period will be increased from one year to three years after graduation, or the National Service Operationally Ready Date (ORD) for male Singaporeans.
At the polytechnics, most of the new courses are ELPs, with more CET programmes planned later this year.
At Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), the ELP in Digital Media Production took in its first cohort on March 20. Upon completing the 12-month work-study programme, participants will be awarded the Specialist Diploma in Digital Media Production.
NYP plans to roll out 18 more programmes by the end of the year, in various industries such as healthcare, media, retail, design and precision engineering.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) has announced the launch of four ELPs so far, offering Specialist Diplomas in Analytical Science, Community Gerontology Nursing, Digital Branding and Social Media Strategies, and Consumer Banking. The first two will start in April, while the second two will only begin in October.
In the light of the rapid expansion of the early childhood education sector and increased demand for trained preschool teachers, NP is also adding a new full-time diploma course in Tamil Studies with Early Education, commencing in April. The polytechnic plans to add ELPs related to early childhood education in the coming months.
In March, NP conducted the inaugural run of its new Travel and Learn Programme for PMEs (professionals, managers and executives) and local startup and business owners, as an opportunity to tap regional and global markets.
The four-day programme was conducted in Yangon, Myanmar, and a post-trip survey by NP's CET Academy found that close to 86 per cent of the participants had received business leads or employment opportunities through the programme.
At Temasek Polytechnic (TP), the school has launched two CETs and one ELP this year. The CET for the Diploma in Engineering (Aviation Management) will begin in April, while the ELP for Information and Communications Technology is slated for June.
The CET for an Advanced Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching and Learning (ADECT) is expected to commence in October.
Republic Polytechnic is launching a CET for the Specialist Diploma in Communication Strategies for Social Media in April, with two ELPs for ITE graduates planned for this year. The Sports and Wellness ELP will begin in May, while the launch date for a Human Resource ELP has yet to be confirmed.
While Singapore Polytechnic has not yet rolled out any new programmes, it has plans to increase its current offering of 10 ELPs and 102 CET courses to 16 and more than 250 respectively, by end 2017. Its Professional and Adult Continuing Education (PACE) Academy sees individuals in various stages of working life looking to upskill through its bite-sized CET courses, from those looking to add skills needed in their current jobs, to others acquiring new ones to move to another department, company or industry.
"As technology advances and disruption innovation becomes prevalent, it is important for all individuals at different stages of their working life to be lifelong learners," said an SP spokesman.
This article was first published on April 6, 2017.
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