When you are deciding on a degree programme, one of the biggest considerations would be how well your education will prepare you for the working world. After all, the workplace has grown more competitive due to technological advancements. Therefore, institutes of higher learning must play an important role in ensuring that its future graduates are able to keep up with the unique demands of their chosen fields and industries, so they can be work-ready.
This article by Digital Senior provides tips on how to choose a university that best suits your interests and prepares you for the working world.
Preparing for the Working World
Students who have gained some industry experience stand a better chance of finding employment upon graduation. Many university students seek internships during their school holidays, since individuals with relevant work experience are highly valued by employers.
The Singapore Institute of Technology's (SIT) vision is to integrate learning, industry, and community by ensuring students gain hands-on experience through industry projects and work attachments.
The university understands the value of industry experience, so it encourages the integration of work and study through its signature Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP). During the IWSP, students get to gain real-world experience by deepening their skill sets, so they can hit the ground running when they graduate and embark on their new jobs. Students are also able to complete their capstone and final-year projects in partnership with their IWSP companies.
Each work attachment can last up to 12 months, so students can benefit from multiple exposure to medium- to long-term industry projects.
The Importance of Work Experience
Fresh graduates who scour job boards often come across advertisements that require jobseekers with ‘at least two years of relevant experience’.
Having some form of work experience through internships or work attachments is something many employers value in fresh graduates.
SIT’s programmes are designed in consultation with industry partners, so students will gain valuable practical and transferable skills. For example, ICT programmes are co-designed and co-delivered by both SIT and industry partners such as Group-IB, Dell Technologies, and Kaspersky.
ICT students are also exposed to real-world projects in their second year of study through a three-month Integrative Team Project (ITP) that requires them to work on industry projects in teams. One example of a successfully implemented ITP is a productivity mobile app done for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit team at the National University Hospital. Meanwhile, Health and Social Sciences students are required to complete 30 weeks of clinical placements in various healthcare settings throughout the course of their studies.
Pursuing Your Passions
A 2015 study published in Annals of Behavioral Medicine reveals that being allowed to pursue your passion not only lowers stress, but also contributes to overall happiness. Being able to attain a degree in your chosen field and building a career in a job you love is one way to fulfil your passion.
SIT offers applied degree programmes that produce talents for targeted growth sectors of the economy. The degree programmes are grouped into five academic clusters – Business, Communication and Design (BCD), Engineering (ENG), Food, Chemical and Biotechnology (FCB), Health and Social Sciences (HSS), and Infocomm Technology (ICT).
Each academic cluster offers a wide range of specialised programmes that allow students to study what you’re truly passionate about. For example, someone interested in engineering can choose to take Aircraft Systems Engineering, Marine Engineering, or Electrical Power Engineering.
Furthermore, as part of the IWSP, students get to take part in multiple industry projects and immerse in the realities of working in these industries. Given the opportunity to work on meaningful work projects with key industry partners, students can learn from experienced mentors and grow their skills and knowledge.
The Importance of Interdisciplinary Skills
It has become important for graduates to learn how to work in multidisciplinary teams to solve increasingly complex problems at the workplace.
SIT prepares its graduates to meet such challenges by helping them develop interdisciplinary skills, regardless of the fields and industries they wish to specialise in. As interdisciplinary skills relate to more than one branch of knowledge, these skills are critical to boosting the employability of fresh graduates.
Every SIT student completes a foundational module titled ‘Critical Thinking and Communicating’ as well as two Design Innovation courses. These modules enable students to work with those from other academic clusters and programmes, and they are required to conceptualise solutions for different complex problems. SIT students also complete a Social Innovation Project that they embark on with community partners in order to create social impact in the community.
These learning opportunities help students strengthen their skills and stay competitive in the workforce through applied learning and exposure. SIT students learn valuable interpersonal skills and become team players who can think critically and make impactful contributions.
The Importance of Transferable Skills
According to a 2021 survey by LinkedIn, employers in Singapore prefer to hire jobseekers with communication skills, problem-solving skills, and strategic thinking skills. 39 per cent of companies prioritise technical skills in their hiring while 31 per cent emphasised transferable skills. Only 8 per cent of hiring decisions were based on paper qualifications.
SIT has introduced a new framework into its curriculum – the Industry Ready Skills Framework (IRSF), which aims to empower students to become masters of their own learning journeys and careers.
The framework allows students to track the transferable skills they’ve picked up throughout their studies and allows them to plan their progress. It will remain relevant beyond the formal learning curriculum and includes skills and knowledge gained at school camps and networking sessions.
There are 18 skills identified under the framework, and they are categorised under five competency areas: Thinking Agility, People Agility, Digital Agility, Professional Agility, and Change Agility. The skills range from Creative Thinking to Digital Data Literacy.
This framework will benefit students who wish to stand out when they are looking for a job after graduation.
SIT’s applied learning pedagogy and industry-focused degree programmes aim to equip students with deep skills and experience required to be future-ready for the new world.
Learn how SIT’s applied degree programmes can make a difference to your future career. Browse SIT’s website to learn more. Admissions is open from now until 19 March 2022.
This article first appeared in Digital Senior.