Wednesday 25 November 2015

Young Talent Programme: 200 poly students to get overseas work stints each year

IE Singapore signs deals with polys under scheme that aims to develop young talent
By Amelia Teng, The Straits Times, 24 Nov 2015

More than 200 polytechnic students will get to go abroad for work stints every year, in an effort to prepare them for the global workforce.

Trade agency International Enterprise (IE) Singapore yesterday signed agreements with the five polytechnics to extend overseas internships to their students under the Young Talent Programme (YTP).

The YTP, which started in 2013, offers funding for international job attachments. It was previously only for students from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University.

The scheme, which has supported more than 1,400 university students so far, aims to develop young talent to meet the needs of local companies with operations abroad.

IE Singapore will fund two-thirds of the cost of the overseas stints under the programme.

Close to half of the students at several polytechnics already have overseas exposure through programmes that include internships.

An IE Singapore survey from November last year to February found that 40 per cent of Singapore companies wanted to increase the number of global roles for their staff in the next year, but had challenges in finding suitable candidates.

IE Singapore chief executive Teo Eng Cheong said that with the new agreements, more Singaporeans will be able to "acquire skills and experiences necessary to operate overseas".

"They will form the pipeline of talents critical to our Singapore companies which will aim to become globally competitive over time," he said.

The YTP is in line with the SkillsFuture initiative that aims to groom students with relevant skills for future careers.

In September, 63 polytechnic students joined the pilot run of the YTP. They worked at more than 20 organisations such as American consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, and their stints lasted three to 22 weeks in countries such as Australia, China and Germany.

Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, who is in charge of higher education and skills, said at the event yesterday that overseas stints help students develop a global perspective as well as a curiosity to learn and seek answers to problems.

"And if time and resources permit, we should ideally see as much of the world as we can, and live in those places," he added.

Ms Rizqina Mahdzar, a third- year mass communication student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said she learnt to adapt to a different work culture during her six months at a digital solutions firm in Phnom Penh this year.

"I previously never thought about having a global career, but now I'm considering it," said the 20-year-old.

Mr Tan Choon Shian, principal of Singapore Polytechnic, said the overseas work stints give students valuable exposure. "Students will learn to be respectful of other cultures while learning to be independent and adaptive in a new learning environment."

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