SINGAPORE -- 19 July 2001 -- Determined to acquire new skills and become more employable in the future, 43-year-old Wang Li Wann recently topped his Certificate class in Internetworking and Communications under the NTUC Cisco Networking Academy Program. This was no mean feat for the former seaman who left school nearly 30 years ago.
Wang was one of 34 NTUC union members who spent the past 8 months learning how to design, build and maintain computer networks with the express aim of getting new skills for jobs in the Internet Economy. These new graduates of the Program, among the first working adults in Singapore to go through the certification, range in age from 22 to 55 and include a stock market dealer, two police officers, a husband and wife team and five men in their 50's.
Stock market dealer Tan Jit Kiat topped his group of classmates who graduated with Specialist Diplomas in Internetworking and Communications, designed for those with tertiary-level education.
The NTUC Cisco Networking Academy Program is conducted by Ngee Ann Polytechnic and NTUC using a combination of e-learning, multimedia as well as lab-based instruction to deliver the course.
"Skills upgrading and retraining are critical for lifelong employability. Workers who commit themselves to lifelong training ensure that they have the skills needed to adapt to the rapidly changing economic environment. Companies will continue to face intense competition. For them to compete and to do well, they have to upgrade the skills of their workers. By helping workers upgrade their skills, companies are enhancing their competitiveness and helping themselves," said Matthias Yao, NTUC Deputy Secretary General and Minister of State without Portfolio (PMO).
According to Bill Chang, Cisco Systems Managing Director for Singapore, the NTUC Cisco Networking Academy Program is an excellent example of partnership between public and private organisations. "The Singapore government's Manpower 21 vision stresses the importance of reskilling and continuous learning, and this collaboration between Cisco, NTUC and Ngee Ann Polytechnic addresses the issue head-on," he explained. "Research estimates indicate an industry shortage world-wide of 1.4 million networking professionals by 2003. By preparing workers now for the jobs of the future, Singapore will stay one step ahead of demand, as well as become more productive and better equipped to compete in the global Internet Economy."
The Cisco Networking Academy Program is a non-profit-making and internationally recognised IT program available at over 7,800 institutions worldwide. So far, it has attracted more than 160,000 students from 130 countries, including 2,000 in Singapore.
"All workers, young and old, have to adopt a mindset of continuous learning in the fast changing Internet Age. Ngee Ann Polytechnic is proud to be part of the NTUC Cisco Networking Academy Program and to be able to bring Internet Age skills to such a committed group of working adults who are prepared to take responsibility for their own employability through acquiring new and relevant skills," said Dr Lim Choo Min, Director of Electronic and Computer Engineering Program of the Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
In conjunction with the Cisco Networking Academy Program, Cisco will launch an Asia Pacific website called Career Connection designed to bring together graduates of the Networking Academy Program, Cisco appointed academies, employers and corporate sponsors in the region.
The website will enable students and graduates looking for jobs to post their resumes and for companies to advertise employment opportunities. It also allows academies to search out projects, internships and part-time employment for their students, as well as appeal to companies for scholarships and investments of equipment.
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