Speech by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Education, at the Skillsfuture Earn and Learn Carnival, Ngee Ann Polytechnic Convention Centre

Published Date: 18 November 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. Thank you for having me here at the inaugural SkillsFuture Earn and Learn (ELP) Carnival.

2. Launched in 2015, the ELP aims to provide polytechnic and ITE students with an additional work-learn pathway to support students in deepening their skills and knowledge in the field while at the same time ease their transition into the workforce. This pathway provides a way for students to develop skills mastery. It is not for them to try something for entertainment but for them to discover what they are good at and ultimately mastering it.

3. To date, more than 1,200 polytechnic and ITE graduates have benefited from the ELP. The ELP pathway is no longer an unfamiliar route amongst polytechnic and ITE graduates. When the programme was first rolled out in 2015, there were only 144 participants. The increase from 144 in 2015 to more than 1,200 currently, demonstrates the strong commitment by our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to develop the ELP as an attractive work-learn pathway for polytechnic and ITE graduates.

4. We have also been broadening the range of ELPs. From 2015 to 2017 the number of ELPs has grown from 15 in 12 sectors to 62 in 28 sectors. We want to use the models of success that we have had since 2015, and work with the institutions and industry to find out how we can create more pathways in different sectors. We have to do so in a way that ensures that the curriculum is meaningful, robust and relevant.

5. New variations have been introduced. We have added ELPs leading to part-time diplomas that cater to ITE graduates. We have joint Polytechnic-University ELPs that cater to polytechnic graduates and that grant credit recognition in relevant degree programmes upon completion. Most recently, the ITE Work-Learn Technical Diploma (WLTD) programme was launched and it provides an additional vocational, apprenticeship-based pathway for ITE graduates. Unlike many academic programmes, admission into WLTD is not by academic achievements, but is decided by employers. Employers play a significant role in the design and delivery of the curriculum.

6. Today’s Carnival is a common platform for the employers and IHLs to come together and also to outreach to students. It is jointly organised by the five polytechnics and ITE, and supported by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). 29 industry partners across nine sectors are participating in today’s Carnival to showcase the 62 ELPs. By creating greater awareness and interest, we want to encourage our polytechnic and ITE students to think of ELP as a viable and attractive pathway, and take advantage of the many opportunities on offer.

7. Today is also Logistics Day and some of our ELP students have been invited to visit logistics facilities after the carnival. I hope this will help you gain some insight into the growing logistic industry and associated career opportunities.

Introducing new ELPs

8. The ELP works because of strong backing from the industry. It is not something that can be done as a pure education initiative. It works because the industry partners see this as an investment in their manpower pipeline. We have a total of 233 employers on board. This is about 50% more than the number of employers we had last year. We are seeing more interest from different employers across sectors, including in emerging areas such as Robotics, Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) and start-ups.

9. For example, Temasek Polytechnic will be launching two new ELPs in Robotics and IIOT early next year. Participating companies include ST Kinetics, Micron, and Seagate Singapore. These are emerging areas where we can have a competitive advantage in Singapore. We want to encourage students to think about pursuing a career in these areas. Employers that can get the relationship with our IHLs right will also gain a competitive advantage by having the right manpower and talent to help their business grow.

10. Another new ELP that will be launched in April next year is the ELP in Entrepreneurship by Ngee Ann Polytechnic. This ELP leverage the interest in start-ups and help address the talent challenges many promising and innovative start-ups have. Our IHL graduate employment is very high, which means start-ups face the challenge of getting graduates to join them. Called the Startup Talent Factory, this new programme is the first-of-its-kind, targeted at supporting the local entrepreneurship ecosystem through talent recruitment. The difference for start-up employees is that they are often required to support a wide variety of business functions ranging from sales to product development. This ELP in Entrepreneurship will help students to learn how to be entrepreneurial, resourceful and independent. It will be a 9- to 12-month programme, and is open to fresh polytechnic graduates from any discipline. They can take this opportunity to learn the culture of a start-up. The target intake is 50 and application will open in January 2018.

11. There are also new ELPs for ITE graduates such as the ELP in Applied Science by Singapore Polytechnic. With this ELP in Applied Science, participants can obtain a Part-Time Diploma in Applied Science (Chemical Laboratory Technology) if they take another two modular certificates.

Dedicated ELP Portal

12. The landscape is getting more complicated with new programmes and choices. With the growing number of student sign-ups and ELP employers, SSG is setting up a dedicated online ELP portal to further improve the administration and outreach of the ELP. To be developed by early 2018, this portal will serve as a one-stop-shop for all to find out more about the ELPs available, participating employers, job vacancies and sign up for the programme. Students and graduates can also see what their peers are applying for. Employers can see the pipeline of talent in these ELP programmes, register their interest, post job vacancies, and review online applications. Ultimately, we want the students and graduates to access the information and make better informed choices about their education and career.

Conclusion

13. In conclusion, I want to thank the 29 industry partners who are taking part in today’s Carnival as well as the wider group of 233 employers who have supported the ELP. This collaboration, where employers see themselves as an important part of providing education for the next generation just as the IHLs see themselves as providing an employment readiness in our students, is an important one. Understanding this partnership and bringing together these resources is what will make the ELP more effective.

14. I hope those who are involved in this have begun to reap the benefits. We will work closely with you to build a ready pool of highly skilled workers and develop an employee-centric training culture. We will work together to address the employers’ talent needs and help students pursue their aspirations. We hope the ELP graduates will spread the word about how ELP is useful. Hopefully this will encourage more industry partners to step forward and join us in taking ELP to greater heights.

15. Thank you to all our polytechnic and ITE partners. You are the face of ELP to our students and graduates in an important part of their lives as they develop themselves.

16. Finally, to our students, this is one more step towards your career and I hope you make the most of this opportunity. Have a good understanding of the commitment required. If you can make the right choice and do something that is in line with your interests and passion, it will be a fulfilling journey. Best wishes and good luck to all the students.

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