Members of the Board of Governors,
Mr Low Wong Fook, Principal, Singapore Polytechnic,
Distinguished Guests,
Parents and Graduands,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon.

Celebration of Success

1.      Today, we are here to celebrate - to celebrate the success of your achievement, because each of you, as an individual, is a success story.

2.      Each of you have worked hard and succeeded in your goal to pursue a Diploma or Advanced Diploma, a goal that you have set out to achieve from the word go. During this period of time, you must have worked on countless assignments and projects, even sacrificed your sleep to meet the deadlines. Some of you had to juggle work, family commitments and studies. Congratulations on your success!


Contributing to Singapore's Success Story

3.      Now, as an individual, you may think that your achievement is insignificant. However, your individual success story will soon become part and parcel of Singapore's success story, as you step onto this life-long journey of contributing to her economy and making this country a better place to live in.

4.      Singapore has always prided herself as a place with a world-class infrastructure and a highly-skilled and efficient workforce. You are now a privileged member of this workforce.

5.      During the last Singapore Budget Speech, our Second Minister for Finance, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam painted a positive outlook for the Singapore Economy. He mentioned that our economy grew by 7.9% and an unprecedented 173,300 jobs were created last year. The unemployment rate went down to 2.7%. Just 2 days ago, the Straits Times carried an article which reported that the Ministry of Trade & Industry anticipated that the the Electronics sector orders will pick up in the 2nd of of this year.  The whole year's GDP forecast is expected to be between 5-7%, up from the previous estimate of 4-6%. You are hence graduating at a time where job openings are aplenty. Therefore, you have many reasons to look forward to a bright future.


Harnessing Technology

6.      Let us now gaze into the crystal ball and try to predict a few trends and directions that Singapore may be travelling along in the next few years. The first one is the importance of harnessing technology, an area that most of you could contribute in. The IDA's Intelligent Nation 2015 Masterplan hopes to transform Singapore into " An intelligent Nation, a Global city , powered by Infocomm". iN 2015 sets out to make Singapore into a centre for creating and commercialising new media technologies, and a provider of a whole array of digital content and services in areas such as healthcare, education, financial services, Tourism, Hospitality, Retail, Digital media and entertainment.

7.      The government is in the process of rolling out [email protected], making Singapore fully connected wirelessly for voice, data and video. Industry players are putting forward plans for the new Next Generation National Broadband Network that will provide ultra high speed connectivity of over 1 gigabits per second.  The pervasive nature of our IT infrastructure will also encourage many Singaporeans to take full advantage of this connectivity to the world, or even to create something new and take it global. The vision of iN2015 is to enable 90 percent of all Singaporean household as well as 90 percent of all businesses to be using this high speed broadband infrastructure. This will enable them to do existing things better and faster.


Education is for life

8.      The second trend that I can see in our crystal ball is that education is for life. To prepare ourselves for new challenges and developments in our country, the education landscape has to develop to meet these new demands and you need to keep updating yourselves with the latest.

9.      As the government has often emphasised, getting a good education is very important for every Singaporean.  It will give you a good start in life but that alone will not guarantee you a successful career.  Don't just sit back and hope that a great job will land on your lap one day.  You need to scan the horizon and look for opportunities and grab them when they are presented to you.  To make yourselves more marketable you must adopt a life-long learning attitude in life. As graduates, may I encourage you to further your education.

10.      There are no lack of opportunities for further studies. Over the years, the local universities have been admitting more and more polytechnic students. Many of them graduated with honours. There were also many who ventured forth to other countries to further their education.  I also understand that the diploma courses in SP are well recognised by overseas Universities and most of them would offer one to two years advanced standing.


Spirit of Enterprise

11.      Thirdly, I hope you will cultivate the spirit of enterprise. Your courses in the polytechnic have increasingly become more multi-disciplinary and broad-based.  There is also an increasing emphasis on nurturing students to become innovative and enterprising, with an entrepreneurial outlook, and yet strongly grounded in practical skills and knowledge.  So, what is this spirit of enterprise? Let me tell you a story:

A man, nearly bald, sat down in a barber's chair. He looked at the barber with his full crop of hair. "We are of the same age," the man said, "and yet I have little hair left."

The man went on to explain how he had spent money on hair restoration and nothing had worked. "I will give you $1000/- if my head can be just like yours."

The barber thought for a while, then excused himself. "I will make your wish come true for $1000."

He returned with a bald head, having shaved off all his hair.


12.      So, we have much to learn from this barber. As globalisation evolves, opportunities abound locally and overseas. Increasingly, Singaporeans are setting up businesses overseas, many successfully, while foreigners are engaging Singaporeans in business, especially for high-trust services. The latter speaks well of Singapore's reputation. May I encourage you to make the best of the opportunities that may come your way.


Career Prospects

13.      I have more good news for you!  Your career prospects are better than ever. Electronics has always been a major contributor to the Singapore economy. Many electronics companies have been investing millions of dollars in Singapore every year. In 2006, the electronics industry attracted 37% of the total foreign investments in Singapore.  Due to this huge investment commitment, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) expects at least 9,000 new engineering, technical and managerial jobs to be created in this industry over the next 4 years.

14.      Besides electronics companies, companies whose main products or services are not electronic in nature but which rely on electronic systems for their operations such as banks, airports, SAF, PSA and SIA, also employ electronics graduates.

15.      Based on figures published in the papers early this year, engineering graduates from the polytechnics commanded one of the highest salaries. Fresh graduates earned on average $1821/- per month, compared to $1706 a year ago. For those who joined the workforce after National Service, the hike was more substantial -- about $2170 a month, on average.

16.      In a survey conducted in 2006, the most common jobs performed by fresh graduates in electronic engineering were:

  • testing electronic products.
  • maintaining and improving the quality and reliability of electronic products.
  • providing technical support to marketing staff or end-users.


Rallying Call

17.      So your career prospects are good and your future is bright. As you now embark on the next lap of your life journey, may you dare to dream dreams of a better future, may you aspire to leave your  mark on society, may you step out with courage and good faith to propel Singapore forward to achieve greater heights of success.

18.      My heartiest congratulations to all the graduands here today and I wish you every success in your future endeavours.

Last updated/checked on 25 May, 2007