Budget 2020: New target for overseas opportunities for students, with focus on SE Asia, China, India

Budget 2020: New target for overseas opportunities for students, with focus on SE Asia, China, India

File photo of students in NUS
File photo of students in the National University of Singapore. (Photo: Darius Boey)

SINGAPORE: To help students in acquire cross-cultural skills and understand the region, the Government has set a new target for 70 per cent of local graduates from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to have overseas exposure, and 70 per cent of the exposure to be in Southeast Asia, China or India. 

Setting the “70-70” target during his 2020 Budget speech on Tuesday (Feb 18), Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said that the Government will introduce a new Asia-Ready Exposure programme to achieve this, supporting visits by local young people to cities in Southeast Asia, China or India. 

It will also enhance support for internships under the Global Ready Talent Programme, said Mr Heng. 

Budget 2020 Heng Swee Keat in Parliament 3
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivers Budget 2020 in Parliament on Feb 18, 2020. 

The Global Ready Talent Programme was launched in October 2019, combining current and local overseas internship programmes, with more funding support for students interning overseas with Singapore firms. 

Singapore enterprises offering student internships or management associate programmes are currently eligible for up to 70 per cent of funding support for allowances or salaries of participants. 

Launching the programme in October 2019, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing had said that over the next five years, the Government aimed to offer 5,000 overseas placements to IHL students and young graduates. 

The programme also supports high-growth Singapore firms, to send Singaporeans with up to three years of working experience for postings in key markets, including Southeast Asia, China and India. 

Noting that about half of all local IHL students gain experience abroad through internships, exchanges, service learning or study trips, Mr Heng said local students are “well-prepared to thrive” in other countries and cultures, including in Asia. 

“In my pre-Budget dialogue with youth leaders, I was struck by their understanding of the importance of learning new skills and exploring new opportunities. They look forward to overseas exposure and postings in the region,” he added. 

Mr Heng also noted that IHLs and industry have distinct roles, and students can secure good jobs if these roles are aligned to “keep learning relevant”. 

“Employment rates are high, and starting salaries have increased. We develop Singaporean talent in partnership with enterprises under the Singapore-Industry Scholarship scheme,” he said. 

“Many of them have graduated and are developing their careers with leading enterprises like ST Engineering and Micron.”

Source: CNA/hw

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