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We continued to work closely with industries on collaborative research projects and develop programmes in support of the national SkillsFuture movement. While helping students and fresh graduates to enhance and deepen their capabilities, we also create opportunities for our staff and students to stay up-to-date on market practices.
As an educational institution committed to meeting Singapore’s manpower needs, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) works closely with our industry partners to ensure that our courses and students remain relevant and well sought-after. Such collaborations open doors to more learning opportunities for our students. Students also get to put their skills and knowledge to test, while gaining insights into latest technologies and practices in the industry. Some highlights are as follows:
NP partnered local startup Glints to develop an online career discovery platform, which allows students and alumni to apply for internships and job opportunities. Users can build their profiles on NP@Glints which will use its skills identification feature to unlock a list of internship and job opportunities that fit their fields of study and preferences.
NP signed an MOU with Action Community for Entrepreneurship in March 2016 to nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs. As part of the MOU, the ACE Student Chapter will be established to facilitate student-driven entrepreneurial activities. NP students can also look forward to interning at one of the 500 startups that are part of ACE’s community. NP and ACE will also co-organise activities such as Campus Life Hackathons where participants will brainstorm solutions to solve campus issues and ideas to improve the campus life experience.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by NP’s School of Engineering (SoE), Lions Befrienders Service Association (Singapore), Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities and NTUC Health Cooperative Limited to develop five sets of RoboCoach systems for senior activity centres. A robot exercise instructor, RoboCoach is programmed to coach the elderly in performing arm exercises, in a fun and engaging way.
SoE has been working with the Singapore Police Force to jointly develop security and safety innovation projects in the past. Both parties signed a new agreement in November 2015 to continue the collaboration in the same direction.
Three research collaboration agreements that were signed with Meiban International Pte Ltd, Nippecraft Ltd and TGI Technology Pte Ltd pave the way for students from the School of Design & Environment to jointly collaborate on product design projects.
During the year, we contributed to the national SkillsFuture movement as Sector Coordinators for Accountancy and Financial Services, Power Engineering, and Offshore and Marine Engineering. Here are the initiatives that were implemented:
Led by the School of Business & Accountancy, NP inked an agreement with 16 accounting companies and financial institutions to provide enhanced internships and the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme (ELP) for polytechnic students and graduates. Through the ELP, polytechnic graduates will get to acquire work experience and professional skills while pursuing further study options part-time, through a structured work-study pathway. Offered by NP in collaboration with the Singapore Accountancy Commission, polytechnic graduates who successfully complete the 18-month programme will attain an Advanced Diploma in Accountancy. This certification offers an alternative pathway for polytechnic graduates and part-time students to become Chartered Accountants of Singapore, without first having to obtain degree qualifications. Upon completion of the ELP, they will be eligible to enrol in the Singapore Qualification Programme to qualify as Chartered Accountants of Singapore.
The Electrical Engineering Division of NP coordinated the signing of an MOU with 17 key energy sector partners and four post-secondary institutions to attract more talent to the power engineering sector. Under the MOU, polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) electrical engineering students will embark on enhanced internships with focused learning outcomes and clear job scopes for Year 2 Electrical Engineering students. They will also be matched with industry mentors who will guide them. In addition, polytechnic graduates who join the power engineering sector will be able to deepen their skills and enjoy better career prospects through two post-graduate diplomas as part of the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme. NP will launch a Specialist Diploma in Electrical Design and Operation in October 2016, while Singapore Polytechnic will offer the Advanced Diploma in Power Engineering from April 2016.
Eight key players of the Offshore & Marine Engineering sector from the industry and post-secondary education institutions signed an MOU to facilitate SkillsFuture initiatives for the sector. Led by NP’s Mechanical Engineering Division, the sector unveiled several new initiatives such as the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme in Offshore & Marine Engineering for fresh polytechnic graduates, and enhanced internships for polytechnic and ITE students. NP currently offers the Specialist Diploma in Marine Production, while the Specialist Diploma in Marine Design will be offered in October 2016.
Thanks to the new Industry Mentors’ Network (IMN) programme, first-year students from NP, Singapore Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic will have industry professionals assigned to them as mentors. These mentors will provide career advice and opportunities for students to gain insights into the industries and careers they are interested in. This programme is aligned with the objectives to strengthen Education and Career Guidance under SkillsFuture. NP, which initiated this programme, will start with 850 students from eight diploma courses such as Advertising & Public Relations and Information Technology. More than 200 mentors from at least 20 companies are part of the IMN programme. The companies – ranging from multinational corporations to local enterprises – inked an MOU with the polytechnics in December 2015.
Our students also get to work with community partners and public agencies to develop social innovations that solve real-world problems. Here are some examples:
Three Mechanical Engineering students came up with an idea to improve the life of bedridden patients. Inspired by the IV-drip stand that is usually found next to hospital beds, the students invented a portable hair washing device. This can be attached to a wheelchair and taken to the patient, who can use it to wash his or her hair. The inspiration for the device came during a visit to All Saints Nursing Home, when the students noticed the challenges faced by healthcare workers.
Xuan, a robotic exercise instructor developed by a group of Electrical Engineering students, has been deployed to the Lions Befrienders Senior Activity Centre. Its novel way of teaching the elderly to keep fit also caught the attention of foreign media such as CNN and CNBC. Looking ahead, five more robots are being developed, and a more advanced version of Xuan is in the works.
A multi-disciplinary team consisting of students from the Environmental & Water Technology, Electronic & Computer Engineering and Product Design & Innovation courses developed Aqon, an aquatic device that could save fish farmers in Singapore millions of dollars in future. With the Aqon, fish farmers will be able to monitor key variables and analyse trends that will help them spot potential algae blooms.
Students from the School of InfoComm Technology worked with the National Kidney Foundation to develop an app that bridges the language barrier between nurses and patients. Using voice recordings of native speakers, the app provides translations of medical phrases from English to Mandarin, Malay, Cantonese and Hokkien. It also allows the patient to provide simple feedback by selecting from common phrases and pictures on the app.
Two Engineering Science (ES) students designed a bionic robot arm that can replace human workers operating in dangerous environments, such as defusing bombs or carting away toxic waste. The bionic robot arm won the "Encouragement Award" for the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors’ Award 2016, and the "Outstanding Technology Team Award" for the Ngee Ann Student Excellence Award 2016.
Two other ES students developed a mind-reading robot on wheels that is controlled by the user’s brainwaves. The robot moves when the user is in a relaxed frame of mind, and changes directions when the user blinks. The robot can be adapted for the physically disabled who are wheelchair-bound.
Four Automation & Mechatronic Systems (AMS) students created M.A.T.A.R, a multi-purpose all terrain autonomous robot, to help police officers conduct site investigations remotely.
Another AMS student, Wang Jinyu, developed an Eye-gesture Controlled Wheelchair that allows patients with limb disabilities to be independently mobile. A motorised wheelchair is connected to a laptop and an eye-tracking device. With a customised graphical user interface, patients can view onscreen directional arrows on the laptop. Using the arrows as a guide, patients move their eyes in a specific direction – emulating a joystick control – to steer the wheelchair.
Product Design & Innovation graduate, Lim Cai Jin, developed Voyar, an assistive walker with a fold-up seat to help children with cerebral palsy stand and walk. Specially-designed springs located under the seat help the children in standing up. If they accidentally fall backwards, the seat unfolds and "catches" them. Cai Jin worked on the prototype with XentiQ Pte Ltd, a local product development and manufacturing firm, as well as the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore. Voyar can be used by children aged between 5 to 12 years who suffer from varying degrees of celebral palsy.