Speech by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim at the Launch of Biomedical Sciences Enhanced Internship & Opening of Republic Polytechnic Nu3lab

Published Date: 07 January 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr Yeo Li Pheow, Principal/CEO, Republic Polytechnic

Ms Jeanne Liew, Principal and CEO, Nanyang Polytechnic

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Introduction

1. Good morning. I am happy to be here with you today, on the first day of Republic Polytechnic’s Open House, for the launch of the Biomedical Sciences Enhanced Internship for polytechnic and ITE students, and the opening of Republic Polytechnic’s Nu3Lab.

Introduction of Enhanced Internships for Biomedical Sciences

2. The polytechnics and ITE have traditionally played an important role in supporting the technological and economic development of Singapore by training individuals for industry. With the launch of SkillsFuture and the move to build a future based on skills mastery, it is even more critical to ensure that our graduates are relevant, industry-focused and attuned to the real world.

3. As Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” To facilitate skills development, students need to be immersed in an authentic learning and work environment where they can hone their skills and apply them in unanticipated or unprecedented situations.

4. Internships present excellent opportunities for students to learn from doing. It allows them to pick up real-world competencies that are difficult to simulate in the classroom, and to get first-hand experience of the career and industry that they are preparing for. It is not uncommon for students who perform well during their internships to secure jobs with their host companies even before they graduate. I see some of you nodding, which is good because it shows that this is happening, it is common, and we want more of that.

5. It is for these reasons that we had asked the polytechnics and ITE to focus their efforts on the enhancement of their internship programmes. Much work has been done on this in the past year, with the polytechnics and ITE rolling out enhancements progressively to courses in the various disciplines.

6. Today marks the launch of the Biomedical Sciences Enhanced Internship, which is expected to benefit more than 800 biomedical sciences and biotechnology students across the five polytechnics and ITE each year. The enhancements include longer internships to provide more time for on-the-job training, more defined learning outcomes supported by structured activities, and structured mentoring and supervision by experienced industry professionals throughout the internship period.

7. With these enhancements, students can expect more enriching and meaningful internship experiences, and a smoother transition from the classroom to the workplace upon their graduation. The enhanced internships will also help to grow or affirm the students’ career aspirations, encouraging them to join and remain in the industries that they are trained for. There will be more opportunities to inspire students like Zainab Bte Mohideen Gani, a biomedical sciences graduate from Republic Polytechnic. Through her internship at the department of Clinical Laboratory, Gleneagles Hospital, Zainab got a good understanding of a medical technologist’s job scope, which boosted her confidence for a career in the biomedical sciences sector. In view of her good performance, she was immediately offered a medical technologist position after the internship.

8. But the benefits of the enhanced internships accrue not only to students. Companies too can benefit, through a new generation of skilled employees that are more industry-ready. The longer time spent by students as interns will also allow companies to better assess the job and organisational fit of the student interns. Students who have good internship experiences tend to look forward to joining their host companies and stay there longer, thus reducing the efforts required by the companies in recruitment and talent management.

9. At this point, I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the good efforts of the biomedical sciences’ sector coordinator team, led by Republic Polytechnic. The sector coordinator teams like them play a central role in driving and coordinating engagements between our institutions and companies in various sectors, to strengthen linkages and synergy between study and work. They have done excellent work to engage the various stakeholders to establish these enhanced internships, which will add value to the biomedical sciences sector.

Republic Polytechnics’ Nu3Lab

10. Today, I am also pleased to witness the launch of Republic Polytechnic’s Nu3Lab - a purpose-built nutrition and food formulation lab which will provide students with an authentic learning environment to work with companies to formulate healthier and tastier food products. The lab will also serve to support and strengthen Republic Polytechnic’s collaborations with industry partners in the areas of food formulation, sensory evaluation and food processing while equipping graduates with deep industry-relevant skills. I am sure all of that will sound, look and taste good.

11. The Nu3Lab and enhanced internships are good examples of how our education institutions and industry partners can work together and derive synergies through mutually beneficial initiatives.

12. For the companies and industry partners present today, I would like to thank you for lending your strong support in partnering us as we develop our students with industry-relevant skills, and help them achieve their career aspirations. I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage more industry partners to come on board and be part of our SkillsFuture journey to nurture the next generation of skilled Singaporeans. Your support of the enhanced internships, curriculum development and industry projects will greatly help to invest in our most important resource - people, and drive Singapore towards an advanced economy.

13. Before I end, I would like to mention that apart from the institutions and the Ministry, there is also very good support from the industry and other partners to develop our people. At the heart of it all, it is about people and how we prepare them for the future. How we set our students’ experiences, what they go through, will make a difference in their lives. We want them to be happier, more energetic and motivated with opportunities to enhance their learning.

14. I have a daughter who is also studying biomedical sciences in one of the polytechnics, and I know internships help motivate her to go deeper in what she is doing. It makes us happy to see that she is enjoying it, that the companies pay serious focus and attention to their interns’ development. So the enhanced internships are on the right track. They will benefit our people much more and make a difference in the learning journey of our students. I would like to thank the companies for making that difference and for paying serious attention to the development of people. We have a good partner in the companies. As a Member of the Parliament, I have also always paid serious attention to the education of my residents. I am often invited to attend the birthday celebrations of the kindergartens in my ward. I always tell them to enhance the love for learning in the children, and the parents start to appreciate that effort.

15. I can sense the importance of the element of internships in the students’ learning, and I am thankful for all of you here today, our stakeholders who look at it as part of your role to develop the nation.

Conclusion

16. Finally, I would like to give my heartiest congratulations to the polytechnics and ITE on their hard work over the past year, which have made these milestones we are celebrating today possible.

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