Friday 24 May 2013

Aerospace course open to N-level holders

WDA, training college offer new diploma that admits those without O levels
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 23 May 2013

AS PART of a broader plan to create jobs and opportunities for Singaporeans, those who did not complete their O levels will still be able to land technical jobs in the fledgling aerospace sector starting July.

The Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Air Transport Training College (ATTC) have started a new aircraft maintenance diploma course that admits N-level holders as well.

Previously, the minimum entry point for WDA-subsidised technical courses in the aerospace sector was an O-level certificate or a certificate from the Institute of Technical Education.

After seven months of training, these new entrants to the workforce can be hired as apprentice technicians, earning $1,200 to $1,300 each month.

Announcing the new scheme yesterday, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin said this will help ensure that Singaporeans "are not only ready for the opportunities created but to thrive when the opportunities are presented".

WDA director Ang Chai Soon told The Straits Times that the aerospace sector is growing and it is expected to see 10,000 new jobs created by 2018. The sector currently provides 20,000 jobs.

"These are good jobs with growth prospects," said Mr Ang, adding that the new diploma holders can progressively upgrade their skills, and move up to become aircraft maintenance engineers earning over $3,000 each month.

During the seven months of training, Singaporeans and permanent residents will receive up to 90 per cent subsidy for the course fees. Up to 150 diploma holders are expected to be trained in the next three years.

It is the fifth training school in Singapore to receive the "apex status", said Mr Tan.

Previous certifications were given to industry training schools in the retail, tourism, food and beverage and childhood education sectors.

WDA said in a statement that its new status will make the ATTC eligible to tap a fund of up to $200,000 to improve the training courses it offers, including sending its trainers for overseas stints.

The ATTC, which opened a new training complex in the Seletar aerospace hub in December last year, is the training arm of the Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers.

It has trained more than 7,500 aerospace workers since it was set up in 1999, including those who received degrees awarded by overseas universities in Britain and Australia.

One of the trainees who received a degree yesterday was 23-year-old Nurhusniyah Azman.

The oldest of seven children completed her A levels in 2009 and could have gone on to study accountancy at a local university or attend teachers' training at the National Institute of Education. Instead, she took up a degree course in aircraft engineering conducted by the ATTC.

She said: "In Singapore, a degree is important. Right now everybody is getting a degree. If you go for a job interview and you're competing with somebody who has a degree and if you don't, most probably the employer will pick the one with the degree."

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