Tuesday 20 October 2015

SAF, SCDF launch roadmap for national paramedic training and education

The roadmap charts out the multiple pathways for paramedics to deepen industry-relevant skills and knowledge, as well as pursue professional upgrading regardless of their starting points.
By Faris Mokhtar, Channel NewsAsia, 16 Oct 2015

Paramedics in the Republic will be able to enrol in a new diploma programme which allows them to deepen their skills and move on to pursue higher education, as part of a new training and education roadmap which is in line with the national SkillsFuture movement.

This was announced on Friday (Oct 16) by Acting Education Minister for Higher Education and Skills Ong Ye Kung, who is also Senior Minister of State for Defence.

He was speaking at the launch of the National Paramedic Training and Education Roadmap at Nee Soon Camp, which is the headquarters of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Medical Corps.

Those who pursue the diploma in paramedicine offered by Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) can move on to an advanced diploma, or a degree programme with a minor in paramedicine and emergency response at SIM University (UniSIM), which was launched in July this year.

For these courses, both institutions will not impose a GPA requirement.

"If you impose a GPA requirement, what it means is that your academic results long ago are going to determine your future. But here it has been done away with, because it is a vocation. So long as you are in a vocation, you can do the job, you are performing well, the path is open for you to seize," said Mr Ong.

The roadmap also includes an enhanced emergency medical specialist course by the SAF which will focus more on practical skills.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), the new training and education roadmap charts out the multiple pathways for paramedics to deepen industry-relevant skills and knowledge, as well as pursue professional upgrading regardless of their starting points.

The roadmap is a multi-agency effort led by the SAF and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), and supported by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency.

The event on Friday also saw six institutions sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to “cement the collaboration between employers of paramedics and education institutions to encourage skills mastery in the field”, said MINDEF.

The institutions are SAF, SCDF, Institute of Technical Education, NYP, UniSIM and the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

“There is a big push now within the SAF to allow the skills that you learn while you are serving to be certifiable so that it is useful to you throughout your lives,” said Mr Ong. “This also enhances the value of NS. So for paramedics, this is now possible by enhancing existing courses, by introducing new courses and creating a vocational pathway that goes all the way now to a degree qualification.”

SAF’s chief of the Medical Corps, Colonel Tang Kong Choong, also said: “Paramedics are our first responders in providing emergency medical and health care, and play a crucial role in the SAF’s operations. They are also teachers and mentors for our medics who provide frontline medical support for the SAF. Their professional development is a key priority for the SAF.”

He added that the SAF is “delighted to be able to establish a long-term, professional programme which strengthens the competencies of our paramedics to better equip them with the medical knowledge and practical skills to support the SAF’s wide range of operations”.

On SCDF’s close partnership with SAF, the former’s Chief Medical Officer Colonel Ng Yih Yng said: "The SCDF welcomes the launch of this roadmap with the SAF as it will enhance the paramedic profession in Singapore and promote lifelong learning. This educational roadmap creates a flexible career track that provides many entry points for our SCDF paramedics to master life-saving skills in fulfilling their passion to help others."

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