As a fresh graduate, finding employment can pose many challenges, especially in a tight labour market as Singapore slowly recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
As more employers look to hire talents with relevant experience and skills, short internships and attachment stints in a variety of industries may not be sufficient for fresh graduates to get their foot at the door at companies related to their field of study.
So how does one have both relevant and valuable work experience as a fresh graduate? One programme that has opened new doors for students to gain work experience and specialised skills, making them highly sought after by employers is The Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) offered by The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).
The IWSP is structured in a unique and distinct way that each degree programme is catered to the industry’s specific needs, developing industry-ready graduates. The programme is compulsory for all students in SIT-conferred and SIT-joint degree programmes.
Under the IWSP, students get to undertake eight to 12 months of paid employment within companies relevant to their courses. This enables them to develop specific professional competencies in their chosen field that may lead to professional advancement.
The programme has already seen strong success with 9 in 10 graduates gaining employment within six months of graduation, according to the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey for SIT’s class of 2021 graduates. The latest survey also revealed that one in two graduates received job offers from their IWSP companies upon graduation. The starting salaries of SIT graduates also exceeded pre-pandemic levels with both mean and median gross salaries at an all-time high.
Soaring to Success
One of the students who has found full-time employment after undertaking the IWSP programme is SIT scholar Oh Qi Qi. As a student of the Bachelor of Science with Honours in Computer Science programme, Qi Qi chose SIT as it was the first University in Singapore that offered a Computing Science degree that specialised in the Internet-of-Things—an area that she was intrigued about.
During her IWSP, she gained the opportunity to work in the Research and Development (R&D) sector and acquired exposure to state-of-the-art (SOTA) technologies. This exposure paved the way for her to find full-time employment as an AI Engineer with Exyte Singapore before she graduated.
“Through the IWSP programme, I managed to experience a complete project cycle which would not have been possible without the eight-month IWSP. I also learned to have an open mind and be willing to try new things outside of my comfort zone as well as explore topics from different viewpoints which have aided my personal growth,” she said.
For Mukesh Balu Chitiran, his IWSP stint at SBS Transit proved to be one of the highlights of his education journey. The Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land)* graduate developed a programming tool as a Lean Project that earned him and his teammates the Gold Award for the SBS Productivity Scheme. The programming tool allowed SBS Transit to reduce manhours in data acquisition and visualisation for fault trend analysis which resulted in cost savings.
His exposure to Lean Methodology during his IWSP became a stepping stone for him in acquiring employment with GE Aerospace (Singapore). As a Lean Specialist, Mukesh analyses productivity in improving processes for maintenance, repair, and overhaul work for aircraft and engine parts.
“I earned transferable skills, knowledge, and expertise during my time in IWSP. Every project is different and requires unique solutions.
“Using Lean, it is possible to reduce the workload of the operators yet increase productivity. It is fulfilling to see the positive change that is brought after Lean is applied,” he added.
Another SIT graduate who has benefitted from the IWSP is Ahmad Hashim Bin Suleman. The Bachelor of Accountancy graduate has likewise reaped success from IWSP and currently works as a Transfer Pricing Consulting Associate at KPMG Singapore.
Although he was offered a full-time audit position, (the same position he worked in during his IWSP), Ahmad Hashim chose to apply for his current position as he believes that the field of transfer pricing is a field of transformation, with newer interpretations and regulations constantly emerging. Ahmad also enjoyed the challenging nature of transfer pricing and wanted to assist multinational corporations in meeting their transfer pricing compliance requirements while increasing their commercial value. During his interview, Ahmad impressed his employers with his in-depth knowledge.
“As transfer pricing is not often taught at the University level, my interviewers were surprised that we had a transfer pricing module as part of our curriculum, one of the interview questions was to share about the transfer pricing project I had in school and what advice I would render to that specific case,” he shared.
Ahmad Hashim’s story is also inspirational as he had come from a longer-than-usual educational route having not done well in his O-Level exams. “SIT has given me the hope and opportunity to obtain my University degree, which I did not believe was possible at first. With SIT's reputable stature in the industry, I believe it has opened many doors for others like me. My overall educational experience at SIT has been both enjoyable and fruitful,” he said.
Keen on embarking on an educational journey with SIT?
SIT adopts an aptitude-based approach in assessing applicants for admission. This means we look beyond your grades and see you as an individual with diverse qualities, talents, and life experiences. We are interested in who you are, and how you can contribute to the community and industry. If shortlisted, you’ll be invited for an interview. Applications open from 10 Jan – 19 Mar 2023. Come armed with ideas and enthusiasm and apply here today.
*The Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land) programme has been renamed to Engineering Systems with effect from Academic Year 2023.