SINGAPORE – When Mr Ahmad Madani Mohamed Saaid told his 12-year-old brother that he topped his diploma course at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), the younger boy thought he was joking at first.
“(Then) he said to me, ‘Wow, abang (elder brother), you really did it.’ My whole family was shocked,” the 24-year-old said.
Even though he did not have much interest in studying in the past, Mr Madani gave the diploma a shot when his workplace, Sheraton Towers Singapore hotel, gave him the opportunity to upskill himself while working under ITE’s Work-Study Diploma programme.
He spent 2½ years studying for a diploma in hotel and restaurant management.
Mr Madani was one of 13 top trainees who were given medals at the ITE Work-Study Diploma Awards presentation ceremony on Monday (Dec 6) at ITE College Central in Ang Mo Kio.
The medallists were among 242 trainees who finished their course at the end of September.
Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing, who presented the medals, said that strong industry support is needed for the programme.
“The investment is worthwhile as it is these same students who will form the future talent pipeline for industries and companies,” he said.
He also said the programme is a key component in supporting life-long learning and upgrading.
“We are working towards a higher education system with multiple upgrading pathways, so that Singaporeans can choose the pathway that best fits their individual aspirations and needs,” he said.
“There is no need to rush for the highest possible qualification before entering the workforce.”
The programme has seen a tenfold increase in the number of participating companies – 410 companies today, from 41 in 2018.
ITE chief executive Low Khah Gek said: “We are glad our industry partners recognise that the Work-Study Diploma programme is a useful means for them to build their talent pipeline.”
Mr Radali Tuah, another top trainee, said that time management was one of the biggest challenges during the course.
Since he set aside weekends for his family, he could do his assignments only from midnight, when they were asleep.
He would stay up till 2am, before waking up at 6am to go to work as a senior technician at Hitachi Elevator Asia.
Mr Radali, who graduated with a Diploma in Vertical Transportation, also said that since it had been more than 10 years since he last went to school, he initially had low expectations of himself.
“I just wanted to finish the course and get my diploma. I never thought I would end up topping the course,” the 39-year-old added.
The Work-Study Diploma programme, which started in 2018 with four courses, will have 36 courses when six new ones are added next year.
Online applications for the 2022 intake have started and will end on Jan 15.
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