Parliamentary Replies
Published Date: 10 May 2023

Oral reply to Parliamentary Questions on Polytechnic Talent for Finance Scheme

Date: For Parliament Sitting on 10 May 2023

Questions: 

Mr Desmond Choo, MP, Tampines GRC: To ask the Prime Minister (a) how many diploma students does MAS seek to place in apprenticeship under the Polytechnic Talent for Finance Scheme; and (b) whether MAS will also seek to expand such schemes to the Institutes of Technical Education.

Mr Liang Eng Hwa, MP, Bukit Panjang SMC: To ask the Prime Minister with regard to the job prospects for polytechnic graduates in the banking and finance sector (a) what are the available programmes to support internships and apprenticeships; and (b) what are the available skills upgrading programmes for further career progression.

Answer by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Board member of MAS, on behalf of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

1. Mr Speaker, may I have your permission to take Questions 7 and 8 together, please.

2. Mr Desmond Choo asked how many diploma students MAS seeks to place in apprenticeships under the Polytechnic Talent for Finance Scheme and if MAS would expand the scheme to the Institute of Technical Education. Mr Liang Eng Hwa raised a related question on the talent development programmes available to polytechnic graduates in the banking and finance sector. This response will cover the questions raised by both Mr Desmond Choo and Mr Liang Eng Hwa.

3. Last month, MAS launched the Polytechnic Talent for Finance Scheme to encourage financial institutions to train and hire more polytechnic students and graduates. There are three tracks under the scheme:

(a) First, the Internship Track seeks to encourage financial institutions to train  polytechnic students as interns and hire them upon graduation.
(b) Second, the Apprenticeship Track aims to provide polytechnic graduates an alternative  pathway to acquire further skills to progress in their careers. 
(c) Third, the Sponsorship Track encourages polytechnic graduates to stay in their jobs in the financial sector while they further their studies.

4. MAS targets to increase the number of polytechnic graduates who take on full-time permanent jobs in the financial sector by more than 80%, from about 160 entering the sector in 2021 to at least 300 by 2025. While the financial sector already offers many internships to polytechnic students, there are much fewer apprenticeship programmes. MAS aims for the Apprenticeship Track to contribute the bulk of the target increase in the number of polytechnic graduates entering the sector. As financial institutions develop familiarity with the calibre of polytechnic talent and as polytechnic graduates gain a better appreciation of the opportunities in the sector, they can become a more significant source of talent for the sector over time. 

5. After polytechnic graduates join the financial sector, they can tap upskilling opportunities available to all financial sector professionals under the MAS’ Talent and Leaders in Finance Programme[footnote group="1"]Reply to Parliamentary Question 3454 on beneficaries and targeted competencies under the Talent and Leaders in Finance programme on 3 October 2022.[/footnote]. This programme includes a wide range of training courses subsidised under the Financial Training Scheme and IBF Standards Training Scheme. It also includes job rotations that provide training and mentorship, as well as overseas postings, to help finance professionals, including polytechnic graduates, advance their careers. 

6. Besides supporting polytechnic graduates, there are schemes to help ITE students gain a head start in their careers. These include ITE’s Work-Study Diplomas, which place students in jobs related to their discipline of study, while pursuing their diplomas. The Infocomm Media Development Authority’s industry-led TechSkills Accelerator for ITE and Polytechnic Alliance also equips ITE and polytechnic students and graduates with skills to take up opportunities in tech careers upon graduation. 

7. MAS will continually review the talent development schemes, and engage the financial sector and higher education institutions, to meet the sector’s manpower needs and create good job opportunities for our people.

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