3 Ways Career Centres in Singapore Approach Internships & Placements
Last week, the international Symplicity team visited various higher ed institutions in Singapore and explored what the key focuses are in their career centres. The importance of internships and placements was an overriding theme for these institutions, and for good reason – evidence suggests that placements and work experience enhance academic performance and employability skills.
Take Singapore University of Technology and Design, for instance, that reports that one quarter of students received a job offer after completing an internship.
Singapore is one of the “Asian Tiger Economies,” which includes four economies that have experienced impressive growth from 1950 on. When an economy develops so quickly, population density follows as a natural result. With so many people living in Tiger Economies like Singapore, a consequence of this is a highly saturated job market. Given these circumstances, it’s especially important for career centres in Singapore to thoroughly prepare their students for finding a career after graduation.
The institutions in Singapore that we met had three varying approaches to handling internships and placements. These approaches are highly applicable to markets in the West as well, so read on to determine which one might work best for your career centre.
Place It at the Centre of the Student’s Responsibility
At Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), which has a small and relatively new career centre, the goal is to instil in students a sense of responsibility by encouraging them to take ownership of their own internship and placement searches. While SUSS provides students with career support and internship/placement listings through CSM, they heavily encourage students to “want” to begin their professional path rather than feeling like they are being “forced” to by the institution. By emphasising how critical it is for students to find an internship or placement, SUSS hopes that students will do so on their own accord because they’ve been guided to develop a true understanding of how important it is to build this professional experience – rather than simply doing it because they are being told to.
Advertise Internships Everywhere Possible
Singapore University of Technology and Design takes a different approach – their main way of ensuring students participate in internships or placements is by advertising their importance wherever possible. On their campus are attractive aesthetic reminders containing statistics about the success of students who complete internships, and they make sure their CSM system includes as many advertisements and listings of internships/placements as possible.
A Hybrid of the Two Approaches
Singapore Management University combined these two approaches, with their career centre encouraging both self-sourced internships/placements and a wide range of formal internships, as well as voluntary opportunities promoted through their Centre for Social Responsibility, advertised on CSM.
The approach your career services team takes in helping students realise the importance of internships/placements depends on your individual school – its size, type, culture and more. That being said, we found that all three of these approaches witnessed in Singapore institutions were effective at helping students understand the importance of gaining this experience before graduation.