These graduates chose ITE path to fulfil their dreams
One seeks to improve himself for his electrical services firm, the other is pursuing a career in shipbuilding
When Mr Stanley Ong decided to focus on establishing his own electrical services company in 2018, he ended up not completing his master's in analytics at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and instead enrolled in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) shortly after.
The University of Melbourne graduate with a Bachelor of Environments never saw this as a step back, but a "practical" one to "enhance" his skills and knowledge and move forward with his business.
In 2019, he took up a part-time Higher Nitec in Technology - Electrical Engineering course at ITE College West to gain the relevant technical expertise in his line of work that he did not possess at the time.
While Mr Ong, now 32, could sense the scepticism from those around him, the company director was undeterred.
He was among 14,137 students who graduated from ITE's class of 2021 in a virtual ceremony yesterday, with a perfect grade point average of 4.0.
He was also awarded the e2i Gold Medal for Higher Nitec in Technology - Electrical Engineering and obtained the Certificate of Merit for being one of the top performers in his course.
Mr Ong, who had to juggle work and studies and often ended his days at 10pm, realised that degree holders can also benefit from picking up technical skills at ITE, in areas such as electrical design and installation, intelligent building systems and codes of practice.
Mr Ong told The New Paper: "With my Higher Nitec, I have a newfound competency and can be more hands-on in tackling technical issues in some of our projects.
"If you are going for (such roles), it is better to acquire your skills from ITE rather than other tertiary institutions as ITE has a more practical and technical approach when it comes to its curriculum."
Being at ITE also reaffirmed Mr Ong's belief in the importance of lifelong learning, and he will be pursuing a diploma in power engineering at Singapore Polytechnic in October.
Also graduating from ITE yesterday was Mr Norheesham Rahmat, the first ITE work-study diploma (WSDip) graduate to have been offered a place at a local university.
He also obtained the WSDip in marine and offshore engineering with merit and a gold course medal.
Mr Norheesham, now 28, first enrolled in ITE College West in 2010 to pursue his Nitec in Technology - Automotive Technology before taking a Higher Nitec in Marine and Offshore Technology at ITE College Central in 2012 after he was awarded the Association of Singapore Marine Industries Scholarship in 2011.
An internship stint at Keppel Offshore and Marine during his Higher Nitec cemented his resolve to pursue a career in shipbuilding.
More than a year into his job, an opportunity to upgrade his qualifications came along in the form of the WSDip, which featured a curriculum structure that allowed him to gain hands-on experience at various departments within the shipyard as well as valuable insights into the entire shipbuilding process.
The assistant planning engineer told TNP: "It allowed me to get more exposure and opportunities to try new things often, something that normal employees do not usually get, and it gave me a lot of fulfilment."
Mr Norheesham is serving a post-training bond with Keppel Offshore and Marine and will be applying to both NTU and the National University of Singapore under a company sponsorship next year.