Acting Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung
spoke to The Straits Times
about the program which he said will model the Swiss and German apprenticeship systems.
In these systems, university students alternate between work and study with theoretical knowledge covered in class being reinforced with practical experience in the workplace.
Trainees are also generally paid for their time both at work and in class with companies hoping the apprentice will later commence their career with the firm.
The government is currently working with universities and selected companies to launch a number of pilot programs which combine work experience and study.
While specific details will be released later, Ong said it will be a “different kind of university program suited to this century, where businesses do not just offer internships, but step into the university to shape the curriculum”.
He noted that the areas of work and study are already beginning to overlap with organisations now offering structured training. Some have even established corporate universities.
Educational institutions are also moving more into the business world, he added.
“Universities now have an incubator space where students are teaming up with faculty, working on start-ups, setting up enterprises. So I expect tertiary programs will increasingly be delivered by both institutions as well as industries.”
The new apprenticeship scheme has been praised by industry experts too.
David Leong, managing director of HR firm PeopleWorldwide Consulting, told The Straits Times
that the combination of work and study will produce new graduates who have a head start in their careers.
“The employee will not only have up-to-date knowledge on his field; he would have also developed all the necessary work skills and absorbed the company culture,” he said.
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In a move which may help firms bring in talented new employees in the future, the government has announced a new apprenticeship scheme where university students work and study at the same time.