Parliamentary Replies

January 10, 2018

Work internships

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Sun Xueling, Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) what proportion of university students, polytechnic and ITE students currently embark on work internships during their studies; (b) what is the duration and nature of these internships; and (c) what can be done to encourage more companies to provide internship opportunities for young Singaporeans.

Response

1. Internships and industry attachments are an important aspect of higher education in Singapore. They provide students with meaningful learning experiences in a real-world context, help them develop fuller perspectives of the various industries and better prepare them for work.

2. Our post-secondary education institutions (PSEIs) source and facilitate placements for students to go on internships. Today, 44% of ITE, 98% of Polytechnic and 70% of University students take up internships. Some students complete two or more internships

during their studies.

3. Internships for PSEI students are typically between 8 to 24 weeks. In some instances, internships could last up to a year, depending on the structure of the courses that students are enrolled in.

4. Internships are usually designed to complement the curricula in PSEIs, and to bridge theory and practice for students. The PSEIs work closely with industry partners to design internship programmes. They identify key competencies that interns should acquire and other learning outcomes that would enhance the students’ employability in respective fields.

5. It is important to ensure that internships are carried out as intended, and are meaningful for students. To this end, our PSEIs have been progressively enhancing the internships, such as introducing structured mentorships, to better meet our students’ learning needs.

6. Industry support is key in ensuring the availability and quality of internships for PSEI students. The PSEIs frequently engage current and new industry partners as well as companies to explore new internship opportunities. They also tap on the help of industry associations, and economic agencies. Companies are increasingly willing to host interns to develop their talent pipeline and assess potential candidates for recruitment.