3 reasons why Everyone is talking about skills-based learning

Hey, have you heard? Something has sent Singapore abuzz rather recently, and is making its rounds around the country. It’s popped up in the media quite a lot, and has been appearing mostly in schools and places of learning. Whatever could this something be? A pop-up café? Or another trend (à la fidget spinners or squiggly eyebrows)?

Well, none of the above, actually. We’re talking about “skills-based learning”, where the focus is placed upon the learning of knowledge and defining it with practical application in the context of an industry-  – and unlike the above, it’s decidedly here to stay. In fact, in preparation for this eventuality, three government agencies (MOE, SSG and WSG) have come together to launch the MySkillsFuture portal. MySkillsFuture will guide Singaporeans from the tender age of 11 (Primary 5!) all the way through adulthood, in navigating and planning their career paths, as well as training (SkillsFuture, etc) to acquire the relevant skills needed.

Why is “skills-based learning” being promoted so much these days, however, and why is it something you should consider? Digital Senior presents to you 3 reasons why:

1) Preparing for the Future Economy

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We’re sure that you’ve been hearing all about “the future economy”, too. What is this about, even?

Today, more so than ever, we need to be conscious of how change is the only constant. Briefly put, rapid technological advances (ongoing all the time) and global happenings (political and economic) have made for an unpredictable and disrupted economy. Entire industries can be shaken in a matter of months (you need only look at Uber and Grab), and jobs are no longer as secure as they were say, a decade ago. We are also seeing a shift towards a gig economy, and big shifts in company operations (think open offices and agile working environments). This is the “future economy” that awaits us: full with exciting developments and transformations that promises plenty of challenge.

In fact, the “future economy” has already started in the form of the Smart Nation Initiative! More than just going cashless, the Smart Nation initiative seeks to maximize technology and its advancements to benefit and empower Singapore, taking her to new heights.

The Smart Nation Initiative is a very real example of why having deep, relevant skills is necessary, which can be gained from courses such as PSB Academy’s EC Council Certified Security Specialist Course. You can help contribute to the Smart Nation initiative and Singapore’s development by being a defender against cyber-attacks! Some of the necessary skills you’ll pick up include intrusion detection, risk mitigation, and network monitoring. You can also choose to work in other parts of the world – the EC council certification is globally recognized – just pack up, as your skills will travel with you.

2) Practical education

So, you get to pick up all these useful, slick skills. What next?

Skills-based courses often include industrial attachments (IAs) in addition to a practicum, which help smoothen the transition to the workplace and increase your employability (make sure to do your research – not all schools offer IAs). Course assessments will require you to show proficiency in the skills you’ve acquired –in addition to knowing them you must know how to use them—so IAs will help polish them to a fine finish.

SHATEC, for example, has students undergo mandatory 6-month IAs for all its full-time courses, under a pool of 150 SHA (Singapore Hotel Association) registered establishments. PSB Academy’s Diploma in Global Hospitality Management Diploma takes you outside the classroom by offering IAs with a wide range of hotels, ranging from the swanky Ritz Carlton to the loft-inspired, designer-boutique Studio M. This, for the adventurous, includes overseas internships. This, plus an abridged version of industry association SACEOS’ event and convention courses , would give you an even closer ear on the ground on the happenings in the industry, before you even launch your career in the sector.

The additional experience you’ve gained from a skills-based education will also help you stand out from other graduates vying for the same roles; according to a survey done by Monster.sg, two-thirds of employers scan resumes for any relevant experience to the post applied for, before anything else.

Tertiary education also isn’t cheap, and the amount you need to pay is a very real consideration that will affect your decision. Many graduates typically enter the workforce with thousands of dollars in student loans that they need to pay off.

If you need or want to tighten up your purse strings, the good news is that the shorter duration of most skills-based courses often leads to lower school fees (in comparison to the “typical” 2-4 year diploma or degree). A typical skills-based programme, such as the London School of Business and Finance’s Diploma in Applied Hospitality Skills or SEED Institute’s WSQ Advanced Certificate in Early Childhood Care and Education, takes around 12-18 months to complete. That’s two times faster than an average degree, which would take you anywhere from 2-4 years! Some courses might also be eligible for grants and subsidies, helping you lighten the load a little more.

*Figures accurate as of October 2017, retrieved from respective sites.

3) Skills adjacencies

We’ve mentioned how skills can be “transferable” across industries. This is possible through what the Committee of Future Education (CFE), set up by our government, terms as “skill adjacency” – where key skills needed in certain industries overlap with each other. An example of this in action would be the retail and hospitality industries, which require good interpersonal skills.

One strong benefit of skills-based education is this transferability. This is especially so if you’re, like many others out there, still unsure of what you want to do post-graduation – but do have a broad idea of the industries you think you’d like or shine in. If you do decide that the industry might not be the one for you after going through the course, you’d still have valuable skills and different perspectives as takeaways that will help you to value-add in your new job! That’s a surefire way to make yourself an indispensable asset to any organization.

Ramani Ayer, the former CEO of the Hartford Financial Services Group (a Fortune 500 company), for example, was one person who was untrained in business or finance. Rather, he studied chemical engineering in university – which served him well despite being a different field. In an article by USA Today, Ayer explained that “the mathematical ways of looking at the world are very transferable from engineering to insurance,” and that engineering is good training for ‘knowing why things happen the way they do”.

The benefits of a skills-based education, therefore, can be far-reaching. Ultimately, a skills-based education goes beyond preparing you for a specific field or industry; instead, it concentrates on the journey you make to get there, leaving you the necessary expertise for the many other journeys you will embark on in your future.

Have we sparked your interest yet? If we have, here are other courses you can consider:

CIMA Part One Exam Prepatory Course, offered by PSB Academy

  • Prepares you for the CMA certification, which will give you the credentials to sign off on financial documents, for example
  • Trains you for leadership positions in the financial sector

WSQ Diploma in Tourism, offered by SHATEC

  • Equips you with the know-how on how to manage various events ranging from exhibitions to conventions, and also delves into staff management and evaluation.

Diploma in Professional Cookery and Food Preparation, offered by Dimensions International College

  • Learn how to prepare, cook, and serve everything from cold dishes to pastries!
  • Trains you for a career as a chef in f&b restaurants, hotels, cafes, and other related establishments.

WSQ Professional Diploma in Early Childhood Care and Education, offered by KLC International Institute

  • Eligible for the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP)
  • Learn approaches and strategies on how to develop curriculums for young children, and so on!

If you have already been considering skills-based courses, or would like to find out more about them (what’s available, general queries), do drop us a comment or ask! Even better, subscribe to us so we can deliver updates right to your inbox. Happy course-sleuthing!

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