As part of the national SkillsFuture movement, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will introduce a new Early Childhood Capability Grant to support child care centres and kindergartens that host enhanced internships for students from the full-time Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) courses at the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). The enhancements in these internship programmes will better support structured learning at the workplace. This is critical in supporting ECDA’s strategies to attract and retain passionate early childhood professionals by providing them with realistic and meaningful exposure to working in the sector.

Enhanced internships for the early childhood sector. From September 2015, enhancements to internships will be progressively introduced in the full-time ECCE courses in the polytechnics and ITE (Annex A). The enhanced internship aims to provide students with meaningful on-the-job experiences to develop work-ready skills, and to ease students’ transition into the sector as trained early childhood teachers after they graduate.

Key enhancements include:
* Standardised internship duration of 22 weeks across full-time ECCE polytechnic and ITE courses to provide more time for on-the-job learning; this is almost double the length of some existing internship programmes.
* More comprehensive learning outcomes covering key knowledge and skills, with an emphasis on translating theory into practice.
* Structured mentoring throughout the programme by experienced early childhood teachers equipped with mentoring skills.

Early Childhood Capability Grant. ECDA will introduce this in tandem with the launch of the enhanced internships to help operators build capabilities to deliver consistent and quality internship experiences (Annex B). The grant will be provided to operators selected by the polytechnics and ITE to host interns under the enhanced internship programme. It will support the cost of training and deployment of mentors, as well as costs in providing stipends, and teaching and learning resources for interns.

Operators keen to host students under the enhanced internships may contact Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic and ITE for more information.