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New and enhanced programmes to groom poly grads in Singapore's power sector

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 11:30
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Singapore needs a new generation of power sector experts to take the living system forward and the urgency is compounded as 40 per cent of the Republic's technical workforce in this field will be near retirement age in 10 years' time, said Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) at Wednesday morning's MOU signing ceremony for the power engineering sector.

SINGAPORE needs a new generation of power sector experts to take the living system forward and the urgency is compounded as 40 per cent of the Republic's technical workforce in this field will be near retirement age in 10 years' time.

Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) made this point at Wednesday morning's MOU signing ceremony for the power engineering sector.

To attract and groom more talent in the sector, he said his ministry will enhance the experience of internships for the power sector by extending them to six months, putting in a better structure, and "making good mentorship and guidance a norm and less the luck of the draw".

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is also launching the power sector Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) for polytechnic graduates.

Under the ELP, polytechnics will match their fresh graduates with jobs in the relevant sector, where they can build up their skills and knowledge through a mix of on-the-job training and institution-based learning, as well as receive an industry-recognised certification.

The first two ELPs for the power sector will be introduced this year, Mr Ong added.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic will be offering a new Specialist Diploma in Electrical Design and Operation from October this year. The 12-month programme will be recognised in applications for the Licensed Electrical Worker (Technician Grade) certification.

Singapore Polytechnic will also be offering a new 18-month Advanced Diploma in Power Engineering, which will start taking in participants from April this year. Upon completion of this ELP, participants may be able to become Senior Technical Officers or Assistant Engineers.

The ELP will fall under the watch of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) which comes under the Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) purview.

Mr Ong noted that the government on Tuesday announced the restructuring of WDA and the Council of Private Education (CPE) into two new statutory boards - SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG). This means SkillsFuture Singapore will come under MOE's purview, while Workforce Singapore will be under MOM's watch. CPE will be integrated into SkillsFuture Singapore.

The key change, explained Mr Ong, is that all functions in WDA relating to skills development will now come under SkillsFuture Singapore, under MOE. "This is a timely move that will enable us to achieve greater synergies in the development of manpower and skills. Education and lifelong learning will be integrated as one. This will make us look at education differently - that it is no longer just confined to schools and institutes of higher learning, but is a lifelong pursuit for mastery and excellence. We will also look at lifelong learning differently - that it is not just about taking a course to get a job, switch careers or cultivate a hobby, but is primarily about deepening and broadening the foundation we have built through the education system."

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