Developing Skills, Mastery through Lifelong Learning

Published Date: 08 April 2016 12:00 AM

News Press Releases

1. In the Committee of Supply Debate 2016, the Ministry of Education unveiled new SkillsFuture initiatives and enhancements that will enable Singaporeans to develop deep skills and gain mastery through a culture of lifelong learning.

Improvements to the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes (ELPs)

2. Graduates enrolled in the ELPs will build on the skills and knowledge they acquired in school while working and earning an income, to equip them with industry-relevant skills and better support their learning and deepening of skills. To date, almost 150 polytechnic and ITE graduates have been placed in more than 50 companies through the ELPs. A total of 15 ELPs in 12 sectors were launched in 2015.

3. More opportunities will be provided to Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates through the Earn and Learn Programmes to deepen their skills and industry-based knowledge.

4. First, a new ELP pathway for ITE graduates will be established, which will allow trainees to work towards a part-time polytechnic diploma. The new pathway will allow ITE graduates to train at a higher level and employers will prepare trainees to take on higher-level job roles within the company. There will be two new ELPs that will lead to a part-time diploma in the Air Transport Sector. Under these ELPs, ITE graduates have the flexibility to take modules relevant to their immediate jobs first and complete the rest later. This will allow them to upgrade their skills at their own pace.

5. Second, another 20 new ELPs will be introduced in 2016, covering 10 additional sectors – Accountancy, Air Transport, Electronics, Energy and Chemicals, Facilities Management, Healthcare, Hotel, Maritime, Spatial Design, and Visual Communication. This brings the total number of ELPs to 37, covering 22 sectors. The full list of ELP sectors available from 2016 is in Annex A.

6. We expect to place about 400 polytechnic and ITE graduates across all the ELPs available in 2016, which is about 2.5 times the number placed in 2015.

7. For the ELPs rolled out in 2015, we have also finalised the articulation arrangements for polytechnic graduates who have completed their ELPs and are keen to pursue degree programmes for two of the ELPs:

  1. Graduates from Republic Polytechnic’s ELP leading to a Specialist Diploma in Supply Chain Management will be able to progress to UniSIM’s Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, with credit exemption.
  2. Graduates from Singapore Polytechnic’s ELP leading to an Advanced Diploma in Applied Food Science will be able to progress to SIT’s Bachelor of Food Technology with Honours, with the exemption of the 28-week work portion of the Integrated Work Study Programme.

Appointment of New Sector Coordinators to strengthen collaboration between Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and industry

8. 10 new sector coordinators have been appointed in Air Transport, Design, Electronics, Energy & Chemicals, Environmental Management, Human Resource, Landscape, Precision Engineering, Sports & Wellness, and Tourism. (See Annex B.) This will bring the total number of sector coordinators up to 27, from the 17 appointed in 2015.

9. Sector coordinators help to strengthen industry linkages to raise the capabilities of our polytechnics and ITE and enhance students’ work readiness. They achieve this in various ways, such as through partnering with industry to enhance internships, and identifying and developing new industry-relevant programmes. They also facilitate the spread of best practices across the institutions, and serve as a single point-of-contact for employers, to coordinate sector outreach and engagement across the polytechnics and ITE, particularly for new projects and collaborations. 

Dedicated Lifelong Learning Units in the Autonomous Universities

10. All five Autonomous Universities (AUs) will establish new Lifelong Learning Units in 2016. These Lifelong Learning Units will have a dedicated focus on lifelong learning and cater to adult learners. They will provide industry-relevant courses, including shorter, bite-sized certificate programmes, and make skills upgrading more accessible through customising the mode of delivery. This will better cater to the needs of working mid-career individuals.

11. Admissions to courses will take into account the individual’s prior learning and work experience. Some courses will stack toward specialised certificates, such as NTU’s Specialist Modular Certificate programmes in Power and Clean Energy, Electrical Power Systems and Manufacturing Engineering which will come under NTU’s College of Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE). NUS’ School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (SCALE) will launch new undergraduate-level certificate courses which consist of modules from their part-time Bachelor of Technology degree programmes in 2016. SMU’s Academy for Continuing Education (ACE), SUTD Academy of Technology and Design (SATD) and SIT’s SITLEARN will also offer modular courses some of which are stackable to certificates in their respective niche areas starting in 2017.

12. In addition, the lifelong learning units will make fuller use of technology to help students balance work and upskilling. For example, over the next five years, NTU’s PaCE aims to transform up to 1,500 courses so that they can be solely delivered online or through a mix of online and face-to-face instruction.

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