ITE work-learn diploma to start in April

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New programme will offer 120 places across four courses, with application focused on employers' recommendations

Graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) can, for the first time, take up a new diploma awarded by ITE starting from April next year.

The Work-Learn Technical Diploma programme, first announced in Parliament in March, will allow them to work and study at the same time.

Up to 120 places across four courses - marine and offshore engineering, mechanical and electrical services supervision, rehabilitation care, and security systems engineering - will be offered for the first intake.

Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung announced details of the new technical diploma yesterday at the ITE graduation ceremony, likening it to an apprenticeship stint.

The programmes will last 2½ to three years, with 70 per cent of curriculum time set aside for on-the-job training.

Mr Ong also said that more ITE graduates have been able to find jobs and their salaries have gone up over the years.

Citing the latest ITE graduate employment survey last year, he told the 711 graduates at the ceremony that almost 87 per cent of their seniors had secured jobs within six months of graduating last year, up by 3.5 percentage points from 2015.

From 2012 to last year, the median salaries of ITE graduates also increased by 20 per cent, from about $1,500 to $1,800.

And, for the first time, the median starting salaries of graduates who finished national service reached $2,000.

With this new technical course, he said ITE graduates can apply for a diploma based on ITE's criteria, which will focus on employers' recommendations instead of purely academic grades like traditional polytechnic diplomas.

Similar to the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programmes, employers will play a key role in developing and delivering the curriculum.

Trainees will also receive an income while learning.

For a start, employers such as ST Electronics, Certis Cisco, Keppel Offshore & Marine, Sembcorp Marine, St Luke's Eldercare and Awwa have come on board.

Registration for the courses will start from Nov 27 this year to Feb 2 next year.