Seizing the Opportunity to Upskill

Ahmad Syahir, a workplace learner from SBS Transit who is embarking on SIT’s Competency-Based Workplace Learning Pathway, shares his story.

Meet Ahmad Syahir, one of 26 workplace learners embarking on SIT’s pilot Competency-Based Workplace Learning Pathway will be the first in his family to obtain an undergraduate degree.

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Age is just a number and not an obstacle for a person to continue the quest for knowledge and climb the ladder of success.

For Ahmad Syahir, his biggest regret is not being able to pursue higher education. The 30-year-old senior assistant engineer has always wished that he could go back in time and do better in his studies, so he could pursue higher education.

Having been with SBS Transit for eight years, Syahir, who specialises in facilities management, hopes to attain broader knowledge and skills in other areas of the rail industry such as signalling, communications, and rolling stock.

Thanks to a new initiative between SIT and key industry partners, Syahir will now have the opportunity to realise his dream. SIT is rolling out the Competency-Based Workplace Learning Pathway (CBWLP) in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (SIE) in September 2021.  And Syahir will be one of the 11 workplace learners from SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation looking to deepen their skill sets in rail engineering.


A Learner-Centric Pathway

This alternative route to an undergraduate degree will allow adult learners to gain credits towards fulfilling degree requirements, based on the competencies they acquired through past work experience. Most of the learning outcomes they need to obtain their degree will be achieved through curated projects carried out at work. Workplace learners will have access to online lectures for their respective modules and receive facilitated coaching from SIT faculty through online platforms. This approach provides learners with greater flexibility and ownership over their learning journey and pace, and minimise disruptions to their work and personal lives.

“When I found out about this learning opportunity, I immediately seized it,” said Syahir. His family, especially his father, is supportive of him enrolling into the pathway. “If everything goes smoothly, I will be the first in my family to obtain a degree!” he said with delight.

His wife, a full-time housewife, understands that Syahir will have his hands full juggling between work and studies. He says, “She fully supports my decision and her encouragement motivates me to work even harder towards my goal.”

Partnering Key Industry Players in Burgeoning Sectors

In addition to the CBWLP in SIE (Land), SIT also launched the pathway for the Infocomm Technology (Information Security) degree programme, teaming up with leading cyber security firm Ensign InfoSecurity. The firm aims to build a core group of Singaporean cyber security professionals or “cyber defenders” in the coming years, and has committed to support the training of their employees. To date, 15 workplace learners from Ensign InfoSecurity have commenced their journey with SIT in AY2021.

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Ahmad Syahir, Senior Assistatnt Engineer, SBS Transit conducts regular checks of the Water-Cooled Chillers at MRT stations, to ensure that the desired temperature levels at the stations are maintained.

Lifelong Learning is Key

Depending on his assessed competencies, Syahir may take between two-and-a-half to four years to obtain his degree.

“I’ve just turned 30 and don't want to waste any more time. If I do not start now, I’m not sure when I will have the opportunity to achieve a university degree. With this pathway, I hope to be able to further expand my knowledge and hone my skills, so I can continue to stay relevant in the fast-changing rail industry,” said Syahir.

“Age is just a number and not an obstacle for a person to continue the quest for knowledge and climb the ladder of success," adds Syahir, who is a firm believer in lifelong learning.