The Singapore society is obsessed with paper qualifications which determines its bearer’s job progression and set a glass ceiling to their career potential. Even in the army, we see leadership qualities, capability to perform under pressure, strategic thinking and personal fitness take a back seat when it comes to comparing qualifications. Never mind that you are more wimpy, less likeable as a leader, cracks under pressure and can’t run to save your life.
With such precedent set by the public sector, how else would you expect Singaporeans to interpret and react?
Similar to our government, the Scottish government also uses the meritocracy narrative and university degrees in Scotland are free for Scottish students (I am so envious of our Scottish friends). In a recent Facebook post discussion, a Scottish friend of mine shared about the stark difference between how Scottish folks and Singaporeans view education. But in Scotland, there is a detachment in people’s minds between education and occupation.
As Singapore evolves and its economic environment becomes more dynamic and complex, the demand for a wider range of skills, competencies and expertise will increase. Our education system now question the skills and competences that our youths require to adapt and succeed in this fast shifting global arena. It is also high time for us to acknowledge and accept that there are other non-degree routes to success.
In the public sector, it has traditionally placed significant emphasis on paper qualifications, and there are usually different starting salaries and career paths for degree- and non-degree holders. A sea change is needed, but we are off to a good start with Prime Minister Lee saying this of the civil service in his National Day Rally speech. Over at the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), it has been pushing for performance-based equal employment opportunities for over a decade. Through the years, NTUC has implemented a variety of different programs and initiatives to charge changes at the organizational level, as well as to train and better equip workers with skills so that they can have an equal share of the progression pie. For unionized companies, the Labour Movement has been working with employers, especially during Collective Bargaining to define career progression without necessarily tagging to educational qualifications, and fighting to include these into the Collective Agreements (CAs). To prepare and empower Polytechnic and ITE graduates to thrive in the economy of the future, the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) Committee has been formed to review and recommend enhancements to the applied education model at the Polytechnics and ITE. Chaired by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, the Committee will look at enhancing career and academic progression prospects for Polytechnic and ITE graduates through the strengthening of industry linkages to provide work-relevant training for students, enhanced educational and career guidance, and pursuit of industrial research, innovation and enterprise activities that support the Polytechnics and ITE’s academic mission. The review, which will involve the industry, students and other stakeholders, aims to present recommendations that will create significant impact for our Polytechnic and ITE system of education, and to better equip our young people to seize opportunities in the future.
They strive to integrate an individual’s personal strengths and  interests with suitable skills and eventually practise as their occupation. To send a ripple effect and influence a perspective change amongst Singaporeans, the change needs to come from our government ministries, statutory boards and agencies. The mindset of choose the course of study based on future career aspirations will start to change when employers open themselves to hire graduates from totally unrelated disciplines. From home, parents must be open to their children’s preferred choice of education pathway, course specialisation and look beyond equating education to occupation.
Together, we can break out of this education caste system and allow ‘One Race To The Top’ for all Singaporeans!
AspirantSG will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. I had the pleasure of meeting up with RockIt Lab’s founder Alex Wall last week over a beer to talk about neuromarketing, what it is about and her thoughts on a few questions.
Women & Leadership - 5 Steps on a Learning Path In continuation of an earlier blog I wrote about the lack of women leaders sharing lessons learned, advice and other topics I’ve been on a journey of looking for information and inspiration. When I first heard Matt Cutts in a G+ hangout say that Google is reconsider the link value for infographics I admit, I was appalled. Born in 1964, John Swinney joined the Scottish National Party in 1979 and went on to graduate from Edinburgh University with an MA (Hons) in Politics.
Prior to his election as Westminster MP for North Tayside in 1997, he held a number of posts in the SNP at local and national level.
Joel Bailey is a knowledgeable customer experience and service design leader, having spent over 15 years combining user-centred methodologies and business strategy to transform services in the private and public sectors. Alex is a native Glaswegian who, after Strathclyde University, joined the Met Office in the early 1970s.


He has held a variety of posts working amongst others as a forecaster at RAF Leuchars, Glasgow Weather Centre, Senior Forecaster London Weather Centre, and Senior Forecaster for the ITV National Weather. After London Weather Centre he moved on to manage the Met Office defence network in the south of England and the Mediterranean. As Council Web Manager, Sally's role has been to develop best practice solutions using web and social media. Stuart McRae is an Executive Collaboration & Social Business Evangelist for IBM Collaboration Solutions, responsible for briefing executives and IT strategists on the business value organisations can realise from the latest exceptional web experience and exceptional work experiences solutions, as well as speaking at public events on related topics.
Kyle Thornton has been the MSYP for Glasgow Southside since 2011 and was elected Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament in June 2013. After graduating in Technology and Business Studies from Strathclyde University in 1986, Caroline left Scotland to work in the City of London. She has been a volunteer business advisor to the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust for 10 years. Dave Black is a leading digital media consultant based in Edinburgh, with clients all over the world. With a strong background in programme delivery in the public and private sectors, Iain is a customer focused Business Unit Director. Our Human Resources folks derive great satisfaction from making quick works of their staff career potential classifications based on their education qualifications and grades.
For decades, our government placed great emphasis on education achievements when it take its pick from our fresh local graduates.
It is interesting to note the difference in price tag between a Lieutenant with Diploma and a Lieutenant with Good Honours and Above. You deserve $1,500 more every month just because you graduate with a Good Honours Degree from a recognised university. Gosh, I hate to be following such an officer during wartime.
There are other skills and courses that an individual can do to develop their craft which may require a specific degree in a subject area, or it may not. Gone are the days where our education system churn out batch after batch of model Singaporean worker prototypes and direct our youths to courses to fill specific labour gaps in the market. Multiple educational pathways are now created to cater to the different strengths and interests of our students.
Just as we accord a high level of respect for MBA-armed CEOS, we should also realize that skilled technicians, highly trained mechanics, talented craftsmen, accomplished artists, or anyone who has honed his craft to an exemplary level, deserve our respect too. These initiatives may not be called ASPIRE, but they are definitely effort to help workers climb up the career ladder, regardless of the academic qualifications they hold. For instance, through the implementation of Skills Redevelopment Programme and Job Redesign Programme, the labour movement has reviewed and redesigned jobs and also re-skill workers so that there is improved employment opportunities for all. Almost a decade old, the WSQ unlocks avenues for workers to obtain nationally recognized and industry-relevant qualifications.
They should not only give students the means to access a job after graduation, but a meaningful career and lifelong learning pathway. Employers may be pleasantly surprised by the fresh perspectives brought in by graduates who are not trained specifically in the particular field. Listen to your child and find out where his or her interest lies, they are more likely to do well in a subject they love than one which they loath.
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I'm not sharing them to be teachy or preachy, but to acknowledge them as a part of my personal evolution and to share. In 1999, he became the MSP for Tayside North, remaining as the constituency’s MP until standing down from Westminster at the 2001 General Election.
He lives near Blairgowrie in his constituency and his hobbies include cycling and hill walking.
He is Director of Service Design at Capita, a FTSE 100 company that delivers large-scale multichannel services for private sector and public sector clients such as the BBC, the Ministry of Defence, O2 and Birmingham City Council.


Alex then became Head of London weather Centre where he lead a team of forecasters responsible for severe weather and road forecasts in the southeast of England, rail forecasts for the UK as well as overall monitoring of UK National TV and radio output. He is particularly focused on the business impact of emerging technologies like Social Computing, Mobile Devices and Cloud Computing.
Previously serving as Vice Chair from 2012-2013, the 18 year old is also a student at the University of Glasgow studying Politics & Central and Eastern European Studies. Currently she is employed by Oracle, the largest enterprise software company in the world, as Director for Oracle Scotland.
His company, Black Arts, serves a client base which ranges from entertainment and electronics giants to local SMEs and non profit organisations.In a rapidly changing digital world, Dave specializes in helping organizations to understand the new opportunities that have appeared, to find their own distinctive voices and to talk in new and innovative ways with their audiences. Iain has overall responsibility for the Government Business Unit within Amor Group, ensuring that we provide our customers with the best service and experience.
One Public Sector Expo is a good illustration of the way we can bring together some thinking about the challenges for public services with practical solutions on display around the Expo. W programie kilkadziesiA…t warsztatów, wystawy, wirtualne prezentacje i wiele innych atrakcji. O realizowanych projektach informuje najnowsza kampania promocyjna Regionalnego Programu Operacyjnego Województwa Zachodniopomorskiego. Every parent pinned high hopes on their children to graduate from University and become a doctor, lawyer or banker (so typical). It is no secret that only 2nd Uppers Honours Degree Honours eventually get hired into ministries, statutory boards and agencies.
We like to go for courses such as Medicine, Law, Banking & Finance or Engineering which gets us to high paying jobs once we graduate. They are encouraged to do a degree in subjects that interests them and that will stimulate their personal growth as an individual.
We recognise the fact our children do not progress at the same pace when it comes to education. As such, polytechnic & ITE should not be seen as being inferior compared to the university education. This results in leveling the playing field relatively, so that even those who are not highly educated or degree holders have a chance to advance professionally.
For example, a marketer who major in psychology may be able to engage consumers better through utilising psychology theories rather than executing the usual run on mill marketing campaigns.
In his career, Martin has worked in FMCG, financial services, B2B and Gaming and has spent the last 5 years building a strong and successful digital team in what is Scotland’s largest full service digital agency. He also acts as executive sponsor for key customers and partners, helping them to maximise the business value they derive from the IBM Social Business solutions they deploy.Prior to his current role, Stuart has worked in Technical Sales, Business Transformation, Product Management, IT Architecture and Development teams in IBM and Lotus.
Kyle is Chair of the Glasgow Youth Council and takes a keen interest in community empowerment, health and the economy. She is a Fellow of the RSA and sits on various Boards and Committees including E Skills, Scotland IS, Scottish Government ICT Advisory Board, a Trustee of Common Purpose and a member of the 2% club. One of his key strategic aims is to deliver truly efficient solutions that enable our customers to achieve cost savings. If your child lack the academic inclination and end up in The Institute Of Technical Education (ITE), that’s it for his or her life. While we celebrate and push those who are academically inclined to go further, we must offer opportunities for late bloomers and less privileged to have a chance to catch up and compete on equal grounds at a later stage.
The WSQ develops skills and education framework that are industry-specific, and focuses on the development of job-based skills and competencies.
Industries that the WSQ has covered include Aerospace, Community and Social Services, Floristry, Healthcare Support, InfoCommunications Technology, Security, Marine Workplace Safety and Health, Tourism Management, etc.
Stuart has been involved in many industry bodies, including Guide Share Europe, EEMA and the IETF. Labour MP Patrick Tay has recently also been advocating that the WSQ be expanded to include a greater PME focus.



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