They nurse a love for animals
SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme allows students pursue veterinary passion while studying
His love for animals started with watching the National Geographic Channel, and he is an admirer of late nature expert Steve Irwin.
He wanted to study veterinary science but his parents' wish for him to become a doctor led him to take a biotechnology diploma course.
Mr Muhammad Arfian Mohamed Hanafi eventually got to pursue his passion after completing his National Service.
A friend linked him up with a veterinary clinic where he found out about the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) leading to a Specialist Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Practice.
Now Mr Muhammad Arfian, 23, is one of seven pioneer participants in the one-year programme offered by Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
The ELP was launched in early 2015, and the veterinary industry was included in the programme last October.
The programme was introduced because the veterinary industry was facing a shortage of nurses.
Singapore citizens pay $650, but the fee is fully sponsored by the participating clinic.
Mr Muhammad Arfian is sponsored by Allpets and Aqualife Clinic, where he works alongside another ELP participant, Miss Enrica Cheng, 21.
They both draw a full-time salary and after they complete their diploma, they will be able to join the industry as veterinary nurses.
Dr Winnie Teo, 41, a veterinary surgeon and a partner at the clinic, said the programme helps students decide whether the job is right for them.
“This programme gives them a chance to put what they have learnt in school into practice.”Dr Winnie Teo, a veterinary surgeon and a partner at the clinic
On average, job applicants stay for two to six months, she said.
"It's heartbreaking to watch them leave because a lot of time is invested in training them. Some of them come in with certain ideals while some are not comfortable with the long working hours.
"This programme gives them a chance to put what they have learnt in school into practice," she said.
Both students said that if possible, they would like to continue working at the clinic after they graduate.
Mr Muhammad Arfian, who is four months into the programme, said that it is challenging to juggle work and study.
"I have to sacrifice a bit of my social life, but I feel that I gain much more than what I lose."
A day in the life of a veterinary student