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Equal employment opportunities needed for graduates

By Darren Chan Keng Leong 

I refer to the report “Employment rate of fresh polytechnic graduates dipped in 2014” TODAY (15 Jan) and felt that there is a need for employers to give student graduates equal employment opportunities for them to contribute their knowledge and skills-sets to the various industries that they are interested in.

Student graduates face a competitive struggle in finding employment due to the different circumstances and criteria that an employer is looking for so that they will employ these graduates into the company which they have applied for. Employers need to consider other factors such as skills set and attitude in hiring these student graduates and not focus solely on whether these students come from a local or private education institute.

Another cause for concern is for diploma holders who joined the workforce after National Service (NS). It is not easy for them to find employment as due to the two years gap, more can be done to help this group of diploma holders. Before a few months of becoming operationally-ready during NS, these diploma holders should be allowed to take time off their NS commitments to enrol in courses that will help them prepare them for the workface upon finishing NS. Potential employers could also give talks and network with these diploma holders to offer them a chance at working for their company. These opportunities will help them to transit back into the workforce with ease and allow them to find employment opportunities at a faster rate.

It is essential to help as many polytechnics and ITE student graduates to give them internship opportunities which may transit into a permanent position once they graduate from the institution. The Ministry of Education (MOE) should work with the different employers who are willing to give student graduates a chance to contribute back to society with their skills and so that every student would be given the equal opportunity at experiencing the workforce environment.

Furthermore, private university student graduates also face the on-going challenge of finding employment as some employers prefer local university graduates. As a private university student, I hope that this mindset can be changed to focus not on paper qualifications alone but on other factors such as the student’s skills, passion, attitude and portfolio that would make them stand out more, rather than their employment chances be based just on their graduation certificate alone. A more holistic assessment and scheme needs to be implemented by employers to give these student graduates the opportunity to improve their skills and use their existing knowledge in helping companies to progress further.

Despite decreasing employment rates of fresh polytechnic graduates, the overall median gross salary for polytechnic graduates is still at a stable level which is a positive sign. However, I hope that every student graduate, despite their major can have equal employment opportunities in pursuing their passion and that companies be willing to hire student graduates across all educational institutes.

Thank you for taking time to read through my views.