DRIVING ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE

  • By Republic Poly
  • Posted 10 months ago
  • Reading Time : a few minutes

As Singapore aims to reach greater innovative economic heights by the year 2020, Republic Polytechnic (RP) renders its support by remaining relevant on the educational forefront. From signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with various organisations to its recent launch of the new Diploma in Engineering Design with Business (DEDB), RP seeks to align its academic objectives to what the future holds for Singapore.

Today, Singapore is on a fast-paced journey towards creating an innovative economy and boosting its workforce capabilities. Various government initiatives, such as SkillsFuture, are committed to inculcating a more innovative mind-set among Singaporeans while encouraging individuals to upgrade their skills and knowledge.

Globalisation has compelled our nation to progress rapidly, and RP recognises this fact. As our graduates are required to tackle future workforce challenges, so must education evolve to accommodate these needs.

Singapore headed towards an innovative future

In 2010, the Economic Strategies Committee, under the Ministry of Finance, shared its economic vision for Singapore to have “Highly Skilled People and an Innovative Economy” and to become a “Distinctive Global City”. The Committee’s aim is to make “skills, innovation and productivity the basis for sustaining Singapore’s economic growth” by 2020 and beyond.

During the 50th anniversary of the National University of Singapore Business School’s gala dinner in 2015, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam stressed that Singaporeans need to work together to change the face of our economy into an innovative one.

“Singapore needs to move from a value-adding economy to a value-creating one,” DPM Tharman added.

Agreeing with this notion, Mr. Dennis Quek, Director, Centre of Innovation for Supply Chain Management, RP, said that innovation is essential for businesses to develop and to maintain a competitive advantage. He elaborated that “innovation is essentially creating new values from current or existing capabilities”.

Building an innovative engineering future

Early this year, Prime Minister (PM) Mr. Lee Hsien Loong announced the government’s S$19 billion plan to support Singapore’s research and development efforts over the next five years, called the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Plan 2020 (RIE 2020).

National Research Foundation revealed that the plan will focus on areas where “national need, economic opportunity and competitive capabilities intersect”. Funding for the RIE 2020 will concentrate on four specific technology domains, with engineering being one of them. And the requirements for engineering jobs in Singapore are evolving innovatively too. As Mr. Quek says, “You need to keep up with the changes by constantly innovating. Being innovative is a part of growth.”

Integrating innovation with education

As a forward-thinking institute, RP launched a new course the Diploma in Engineering Design with Business (DEBD) – a programme specially created for out-of the-box learning and thinking to better prepare and equip students for the changing demands of the engineering sector.

Programme Chair for DEBD, Mr. Edmund Tan, highlighted that the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore is actively collaborating with private accelerators to build 500 Singapore-based technology start-ups within the next five years. Hence, there will be an increasing demand for highly skilled employees.

Mr. Tan observed that multi-national companies and start-ups have already begun to request for well-rounded manpower who not just have engineering expertise but also an integrated know-how of business operations and processes. He further explained: “To remain competitive in the global economy in the next five to 10 years, small and medium enterprises need to upgrade their capabilities and transform themselves.”

One such way is to hire talent with the right skill sets. The DEDB course enables our students to be proficient in significant areas such as the design, development and implementation of engineering solutions with a focus on business skills such as the understanding of business and start-up operations and instilling an entrepreneurial mind-set. These will equip graduates with high-value engineering skills.

RP has also established several MOUs with organisations like Design Business Chamber of Singapore, Hexagon Metrology and Action Community for Entrepreneurship that offers multiple benefits.

For example, to further enrich our students’ learning, the partnership with Hexagon Metrology will bring about the establishment of a joint laboratory to be able to provide comprehensive solutions for processes like 3D prototyping, measurement and inspection, tooling design, mass production and more. Mr. Carsten Struve, Chief Technology Officer, Hexagon Metrology said: “We believe that industry has a responsibility to help academic institutions with technical research and in developing great minds of the future.”

In October 2015, during the incorporation of an economic review committee, PM Lee shared: “We must create opportunities even in a weaker global economy, and move faster towards higher skills, innovation and productivity.” To construct an innovative economy, there is a need for well-rounded individuals who possess business insights and an entrepreneurial spirit. By introducing the new diploma and constantly seeking to partner with industry experts. RP has already begun to bridge the workforce complexity gaps of tomorrow, today.

Source: incoRPorate magazine (Sept/Oct 2016), Republic Polytechnic

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