When Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) first work-and-train programme for foreign students kicks off on (date) March 2008, up to 100 students from Shanghai will be immersed in Singapore's culture, lifestyle, study and work environment.
Under the programme, the students, from the Shanghai Institute of Technology and Shanghai Normal University, will spend 10 months in Singapore studying for an Advanced Diploma in either of three fields of study - Process Control and Instrumentation, Precision Engineering, and Occupational Safety and Health.
They will also receive lessons to improve their command of the English language. In their final two months at Singapore Polytechnic, they can put theory to practice through industrial attachments to companies like MMI Holdings.
SP through its subsidiary, Singapore Polytechnic International (SPI) and the two Shanghai educational institutions signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in mid-November.
Explaining the objective of the work-and-train programme, Mr Tan Hang Cheong who officially takes over as Principal of SP from 1January 2008, said: "SP has a strong track record of over 50 years in the training of technologists and professionals to meet Singapore's manpower needs. Our advanced diploma programme for foreign students is one way of addressing the shortage of industry professionals. It's a win-win for employers in Singapore who will get access to tap this skills pool, and for our foreign students who would be acclimatised to Singapore's lifestyle and work environment should they opt to remain and work in Singapore."
It has been reported that Singapore's precision engineering industry is expected to generate an output of $28 billion and double its value-added to $10 billion by 2018. The growth is projected to come mostly from the machinery and systems sector in precision engineering.
Welcoming the initiative, Mr Kelvin Teng from MMI Holdings said that he welcomes SPI's initiative because, "as more companies have chosen Singapore based contract manufacturers as strategic partners or are their clients, we can expect rising demand for manpower in precision engineering. We can now look forward to an additional source of people who are trained and who are already 'broken in'. It will help narrow our search and save our recruitment and training costs in the long run."
Besides China, SP will explore similar partnerships with other countries in Asia to offer customised train-and-work programmes.
Summing it up, Mr Tan reiterated, "As an internationally recognised institution, SP will continue to innovate and create education models in partnership with the universities and with our industry partners. First and foremost, our programmes and courses will be customised to meet the needs of our students, whether foreign or local - what they learn at SP must open the doors for them to future employment or further education. As an established polytechnic in Singapore, we also recognise our responsibility to contribute to the education and training of Singapore's current and future manpower".