Sunday, 4 October 2015

Poly grads start to Earn and Learn under new SkillsFuture scheme

By Aw Cheng Wei, The Straits Times, 3 Oct 2015

The first batch of polytechnic graduates taking part in a programme that allows them to work in logistics while furthering their studies started classes at Republic Polytechnic (RP) yesterday.

The 12-month programme, which is part of the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn scheme launched in March, leads to a specialist diploma in supply chain management. It enrolled 39 out of 59 applicants.

Applicants need to be hired by firms as full-time staff before they can be enrolled, said assistant director Soh Lai Seng, who is in charge of the academic programme at RP.

"We make sure they have a relevant diploma, then we let companies decide who they want to hire," he said.

Under the Earn and Learn scheme, students work from Mondays to Thursdays and attend classes on Fridays. Their monthly salary of $1,800 to $2,000 matches that of a polytechnic graduate who is starting work. Participants also get a $5,000 bonus.

To ensure that the lessons are fortified by industry relevance, companies are required to provide on-the-job training. Students will be supervised closely at work and by their lecturers so that they will be able to integrate theory and practice to develop deep specialist skills.

They will also take on a project related to their company operations so that they get to apply what they learn to solve real-life problems.

Mr Ong Swee Keong, general manager of Yang Kee Logistics, which has six employees under the scheme, said: "We want to give them solid training."

Ms Angelinena Song, general manager of Yusen Logistics' human resource department, hopes the scheme can be a "good pipeline for talent", so as to ease the manpower crunch. Yusen has taken on four workers under the scheme.

Ms Tan Li Qi, 21, who holds a diploma in industrial operations management from RP, initially wanted to pursue a degree in business management, but changed her mind because "it was too general".

"With a specialist diploma, I can gain more industry knowledge and become more confident when I talk to clients," she said.

Currently, sectors such as retail, food manufacturing and precision engineering are covered under the Earn and Learn scheme. The aim is to get one in three Institute of Technical Education and polytechnic graduates on board by 2025.

* Logistics work-study scheme sees its first grads
By Tiffany Fumiko Tay, The Straits Times, 5 Jan 2017

Like many fresh graduates, Ms Pearlyn Mok faced a dilemma after earning her diploma in supply chain management in 2015: Should she further her studies, or enter the workforce?

In the end, she did not have to choose, thanks to a SkillsFuture programme for the logistics sector. It allows diploma holders to work full-time while furthering their education.

Yesterday, Ms Mok, 22, was among 35 graduates of the pioneer batch of the sector's Earn and Learn Programme (ELP).

Out of these, 33 will continue their careers at their current placements at logistics firms such as ST Logistics and Yusen Logistics.

Managed by Republic Polytechnic (RP) in partnership with SkillsFuture Singapore, the logistics ELP provides participants on-the-job training and mentorship from one of 25 partner companies while studying one day a week.

Graduates of the year-long programme earn a specialist diploma in supply chain management.

Speaking to graduates and company representatives at Republic Polytechnic yesterday, Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said the programme has "allowed companies to gauge the potential of young talents" and make longer-term succession plans.

Ms Mok, who will continue in her job as a logistics executive at Toll Logistics Asia, said that she enjoyed putting theory into practice.

While balancing daily work and school projects was a challenge, she had two mentors to turn to - one from the polytechnic and one from the company.

Drawing a salary while studying was a bonus, said Ms Mok, who earned $1,800 a month and received an $80 pay increment after her first year.

RP principal Yeo Li Pheow said that many of the graduates had received a salary increment, or expansion or rotation of their job scope within the year.

Their progress "reflects the emphasis that the companies have placed on recognising skill development and providing more opportunities for career progression", he said.

The ELP, a work-study programme for polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates, has been rolled out in phases since 2015 to sectors such as food manufacturing and hotels.

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