More Than a Job: Making a Difference With Specialised Degrees

The pace of change is accelerating. Many of the skills, roles and job scopes of today are constantly evolving due to a number of reasons such as technological innovations, globalisation and demographic shifts. Issues such as global warming and an ageing population are major concerns that organisations need to address if they are to contribute meaningfully to society and stay competitive at the same time.

There is a real need for educational institutions to identify specialised, growing industries and co-work with these industries to develop the right skills for our future workforce.

Whether it’s developing new technologies for the future or improving quality of life through healthcare, here are three degree programmes from SIT that will help contribute to building a better tomorrow.

Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), BEng/BEng (Hons)

Land space is precious, especially in a dense population like Singapore. Therefore, making the most of it through infrastructure that is built to withstand the test of time is crucial. More than designing new infrastructure, the Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (SIE) Building Services degree focuses on rehabilitating and optimising existing infrastructure. It looks at principles of urban sustainability and the long-term economic analysis of energy use, material selection, and waste, among others. There is a whole science to how we approach building for the future and making sure our communities thrive in them.

What really makes this degree programme unique, however, is its strong focus on applied learning and close collaboration with industries. Final year Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) student Tan Zi Rui had the opportunity to complete a one-year Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) with Aurecon during the duration of her course. This experience provided her with valuable real-world experience. Upon completion of her IWSP, she says she has a much better understanding of the different roles involved in building a project. “I had the opportunity to see a project from start to end and learned a lot in the process.”

Collaborations like this benefit both the industry and students, as it provides a platform for students to show their capabilities and put their knowledge to practice, given how the degree programme is designed specifically for the industry. “I believe the IWSP was the reason that they decided to hire me as a full-time staff after I finished my studies,” adds Tan.

Tan, who will be graduating in October this year with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours, has been with the company for half a year now. She says, “I like that I get many opportunities to visit interesting sites like data centres, warehouses, clean rooms, even laboratories – places that most people will probably never get to visit.” With a long journey ahead of her, she says she is grateful for supportive colleagues, who have made her transition into the workplace a smooth one.

Physiotherapy, BSc/BSc (Hons)

Technology has changed the way we live and work. With machines doing most of the heavy lifting, many people now live a sedentary lifestyle, resulting in higher health risks. Combined with a higher life expectancy and a growing ageing population that needs help with mobility issues, chronic diseases and pain prevention, the need for physiotherapy has grown significantly.

Physiotherapy is taking its place in Singapore’s evolving healthcare ecosystem. Since 2015, the number of licensed physiotherapists has increased by 17 per cent. This culminated in the launch of a four-year joint physiotherapy undergraduate programme by SIT and Trinity College Dublin in 2016 to meet the needs of the society.

Marcus Lee, a third year physiotherapy student at SIT, became interested in the practice when he saw how it helped his grandmother when she had a fall. “I was fortunate to have observed a few sessions and saw how it really helped her. This opened my eyes to the world of physiotherapy and I was curious to find out more.”

With a heart for the elderly, Lee says that he has always had an interest in geriatrics, and a profession in physiotherapy would allow him to contribute meaningfully to society.

He says, “People think that all we do as physiotherapists is massage and exercise. But physiotherapy covers a whole lot more than just that. This includes cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neurology, sports, and paediatrics, to name a few.”

The course modules are co-created with clinical partners and industry advisors to ensure that the programme is clinically relevant and evidence-based. Besides theoretical knowledge, students will have opportunities to gain 30 weeks of clinical experience while working in the various hospitals and healthcare facilities in Singapore.

“Physiotherapy is a hands-on programme which requires us to learn and apply knowledge outside the classroom. The clinical attachments at the various healthcare settings will prepare us to be health professionals when we transit from university to the working world,” remarks Lee.

Pharmaceutical Engineering, BEng/BEng (Hons)

A lot of the work that pharmaceutical engineers do happen behind closed doors. However, the impact of their work can often go beyond borders. The Pharmaceutical Engineering (PHE) programme at SIT was designed to support the swift growth of Asia’s biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry in recent years.

Associate Professor Lim Kok Hwa, Pharmaceutical Engineering programme director and Chemical Engineering and Food Technology deputy cluster director, feels that as more people gain access to healthcare and populations shift to urban areas, non-communicable diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases are becoming more prevalent.

“PHE graduates will be part of a specialised workforce that will manufacture the growing suite of innovative healthcare products, to meet the evolving needs of patients around the world,” he comments.

Like the rest of its courses, the PHE programme at SIT is built with a strong industry focus in mind, so students will receive industry endorsed competency-based certifications when they complete certain modules. Students will also be given opportunities to collaborate with international teams, further enhancing their industry readiness.

As global citizens, we all have a part to play in ensuring a better quality of life for ourselves, and our children in the future. With a myriad of degree programmes and careers to choose from, these are only the tip of the iceberg. Check out the SIT degree programmes to find out more about what you can do to take Singapore into the future.


This content originally appeared on Yahoo.