I am very pleased to be here to extend my heart-felt congratulations to all the graduands today. I also wish to pay tribute to your families, friends and lecturers who have supported and guided you in your learning journey. This is as much a proud and memorable day for you as it is for them.

This morning, Ngee Ann Polytechnic is graduating about 270 students from two engineering courses – the Diploma in Engineering Science and Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. In today’s innovation-driven world, engineers play an increasingly important role in creating products and services that transform the way we live, work and play. Almost all sectors – from aerospace and biomedical to communication and manufacturing – need engineers. A polytechnic engineering course indeed opens doors to diverse career opportunities. With the training and real-world exposure that you have received, I am sure you can contribute towards sharpening Singapore’s competitive edge in the evolving world.

Nurturing Industry Leaders for Tomorrow

Engineering as a discipline is also evolving with time. Today’s engineers need to be more versatile and multi-disciplinary to resolve increasingly complex and challenging issues. To this end, Ngee Ann Polytechnic has constantly reviewed how engineering is taught and provided its engineering students with diverse skillsets as well as opportunities to work on cutting-edge projects with industry partners.

The pioneer cohort of Engineering Science diploma graduates in our midst attests to the polytechnic’s relentless efforts to induct good students into the engineering profession. The Diploma in Engineering Science was launched in 2011 to appeal to individuals who have a very keen interest in both science and technology. The curriculum was designed with the guidance of Nanyang Technological University to equip students with a multi-disciplinary mindset that allows them to tackle engineering issues from different perspectives. Students also engage regularly with professors and researchers from our local universities and undertake final-year projects under the supervision of the universities and research institutions.

Since its inception three years ago, the Diploma in Engineering Science has been successful in recruiting strong candidates. Among the first batch of students is a young lady, Ng Rui Qi. Despite the fact that engineering is not a very popular choice with female students, Rui Qi chose to defy stereotypes and enrolled in an engineering diploma. In fact, she was one out of 10 girls in her cohort of 39 students. Today, Rui Qi has not only successfully completed her diploma, but she is also graduating at the top of her cohort. She has proven that female students can do equally well in the engineering domain, as long as they have the passion and interest. We are encouraged by the likes of Rui Qi who have made engineering their choice, and we hope to see more students take up engineering and become future industry leaders.

To further stimulate interest in engineering, Ngee Ann Polytechnic also offers scholarships specifically for engineering students and a customised development programme to nurture engineering students holistically. This special track includes early exposure to cutting-edge technologies, research and development, and to the industry via local and overseas study trips. I commend Ngee Ann Polytechnic for its efforts in enhancing engineering education and nurturing talented students for the industry.

Prospects for polytechnic graduates

Graduands, you will enjoy many exciting opportunities ahead. With the strong foundation and hands-on training that you have acquired, you are ready to hit the ground running. Those of you who are seeking employment will be glad to know that with the positive economic outlook, the market demand for polytechnic graduates is expected to remain strong.

Some polytechnic students get job offers even before completing their diplomas. Among them is Sebastian Cheng Kwok Cheong who is graduating from Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Aerospace Technology course this week. Sebastian has a Nitec certificate in Aerospace Technology from the Institute of Technical Education. As an Aerospace Technology student in Ngee Ann, Sebastian spent his internship at Pratt & Whitney Canada (South East Asia) and was attached to the Quality Assurance department. I understand Sebastian impressed the company so much that the General Manager personally offered him a position at the company.

I believe that our polytechnic graduates can benefit from joining the industry right after completing their diploma programmes. This will give you much-valued work experience and put your skills and knowledge to a real test.

At the same time, I encourage all of you to continue pursuing your areas of strengths, so that you will keep on developing professionalism and excellence in your career. Some of you would form firmer ideas about your long-term calling after a few years of working. I encourage you to take full advantage of the various opportunities available for further education and training.

Apart from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design, the Singapore Institute of Technology also offers many degree programmes for those who wish to upgrade after obtaining polytechnic diplomas. There are many Government-funded training options as well, such as the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications developed by the Workforce Development Agency in collaboration with various industries.

Other pathways to success

Whether you want to go to work, start a venture, further your studies or work first and study again later, the important thing is to give it your all. You will be surprised at how much you can achieve when you really set your mind on something, even if it means taking the route less travelled which may be fraught with greater uncertainty. Stay focused, remain determined and be resilient to ride through the storms and challenges. I encourage you to maintain a positive outlook as you embark on an exciting journey ahead.

Even while you work hard to establish yourselves professionally, I urge you to find the time to give back to society. Material success alone does not make a man or woman. Your heart needs to be in the right place as well. At the same time, do make time for your families and friends because life is definitely more meaningful with the support of your loved ones. I wish you success and happiness ahead.

Thank you.