Parliament: Various help for fresh grads to get job skills and knowledge to ease Covid-19 impact, says Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE – Many internships have been disrupted by the recent circuit breaker measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 and this has posed a challenge for students in institutes of higher learning (IHLs), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung acknowledged in Parliament on Friday (June 5).

But the institutes – namely autonomous universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education – are striving to identify alternatives to mitigate any impact on students’ learning outcomes and graduation timings, he said in a reply to Ms Cheng Li Hui (Tampines GRC).

If it is not possible for them to reschedule internships, the institutes will offer substitutes, such as working on industry-related projects and taking additional modules, he added.

Addressing concerns about the employment prospects of graduates in the light of Covid-19, Mr Ong said the institutes have been tapping their extensive network of companies and employers to provide internships and work-study programmes.

Despite difficulties, many employers are still prepared to hire, while those without vacancies may offer traineeships, the minister added.

The IHLs will also help graduating students with offers from the pool of about 100,000 opportunities in the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package that the new National Jobs Council is overseeing and building up.

Their career centres have also stepped up efforts to support graduates remotely.

Graduates who choose to delay their entry into the job market will be helped too. The IHLs will offer them, for free, a few continuing education and training modules so that they can acquire new skills and knowledge.

The Ministry of Education is working with the IHLs to structure these modules into a continuous programme that will come with credentials when they complete the modules.

Graduates can also enrol in programmes for further studies, including advance and specialist diploma programmes.

Said Mr Ong: “Fresh graduates are entering the job market at an exceptional time. Many will face challenges in securing a job. The IHLs, together with various government agencies, will provide whatever support we can to all graduates entering the workforce.”

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