Live & Learn
4 Tips to Promote Active Learning Outside of Your Traineeship

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As the population continues to adapt to a weakening job market amid COVID-19, the Singapore government has pumped in S$100 million to fund the graduate traineeship programmes to better prepare graduates for the eventual recovery of the economy.

The traineeship programme has been in full swing since June, giving fresh graduates from various institutions plenty of opportunities to take up traineeships. Now that you’ve bagged a traineeship, there are still many ways in which you can identify gaps within your current skill sets and keep up with the evolving job market!

While this traineeship period can be a stepping stone to your dream job, it is also the best time to explore ways to further upskill and expand your capabilities.

Did you know that 65% of Singaporean employers value hard skills such as project management and statistical analysis? Even soft skills like teamwork and problem solving are highly sought after by employers.

These are just some of the skills that are in-demand in the workforce and it would definitely be helpful to learn them even while doing your traineeship. Being able to upskill can potentially increase your chances of being more employable and at the same time, hone your current set of skills needed for your ongoing traineeship.

With the help of various tools and websites, there are ways you can continue to upgrade your job skills in the comfort of your home. As you continue your traineeship, here are some relevant tips to accelerate learning outside of it:


1. Learn new skills through online courses

Even though physical classes are suspended, learning never stops!

Amid a global pandemic where we’re told to #stayhome, there are a few resources for online courses worth exploring to learn new skills and further improve existing skill sets.

After all, many jobs in Singapore require a good mix of both hard and soft skills—a survey by NTUC LearninghHub showed that employers actively seek candidates with specific skill sets. When it comes to soft skills, over 56% of employers sought adaptability and resilience, and for hard skills, 44% of them coveted digital skills like project management.

Having these skills on your resume will help you out when you’re on a job hunt.
 

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Many established websites now offer a wide range of free online courses or free trial periods according to your career goals and objectives. Each platform has its own speciality, so be sure to do your research and check out which online courses are the most suitable for you.

Here’s a list of platforms to get you started:

Udemy

Udemy offers over 130,000 online video courses with a large selection of categories ranging from programming to design.

The most popular courses on their platform are the computer programming language courses such as Python, Javascript, Data Science, and many more. These courses consist of lectures, articles, and coding exercises to help you hone those skills.  

Although the courses are not free, they do come at a relatively affordable price ranging from S$20 to S$30 per course depending on the level and hours of the course. As a trainee who wishes to upgrade their technical skills in computer programming, Udemy is definitely a good option to try unless you’re on a tight budget.  

Coursera

Another great platform to explore would be Coursera. The online courses available on Coursera are in collaboration with many renowned universities around the world, like the University of London, Yale, and Stanford, and even companies like International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

There are plenty of courses to choose from, whether it's cloud computing, machine learning, or writing and editing. But what really sets Coursera apart is that you can get certificates and degrees from prestigious universities for certain courses, like a certificate for statistical thermodynamics from Carnegie Mellon University.  

So if you’re looking to attain a degree or certificate, Coursera would be the best choice as it is completely online and flexible so you can attend classes during your traineeship period. Online courses on Coursera are also free, unless you’re pursuing a degree or certificate. Then you’ll have to pay a fee.

Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, they’ve extended their help to the community by offering a selection of free online learning to anyone from anywhere. The ongoing promotion lasts till December 31, 2020 and you can also earn a certificate after attending the courses. Find a free course that suits you and start on it!

LinkedIn Learning

It’s now almost impossible to find someone without a LinkedIn. But other than making connections and applying for jobs through your profile, did you know that LinkedIn offers courses?

LinkedIn Learning provides users with a platform to upgrade functional skills. Multiple online courses and video tutorials are offered on the platform—Adobe Photoshop, Illustration, and Premiere Pro are just a few of the many available topics.

Some institutions, like Nanyang Technological University (NTU), may also have an available subscription to LyndaCampus (which has now completely moved to LinkedIn Learning). This will allow students to gain free access to certification programmes upon login using their institution credentials.

The platform has quite a number of topics that are focused on soft skills too. Other than the technical skills mentioned, you can even explore courses on leadership, time management, and other relevant subjects. Not to mention all these courses are free!

If you’re more interested in learning more about a specific topic within a skill, LinkedIn Learning offers individual video lessons instead of consecutive lessons for an entire course. You may prefer this style of learning if you’re only keen on understanding a specific concept instead of going through a whole curriculum.

MySkillsFuture

MySkillsFuture is an all-in-one portal that allows Singaporeans to receive career advice and enhance skills through online courses according to their desired career objectives.

Digital Media, Entrepreneurship and Data Analytics are some of the training programmes that are offered by SkillsFuture. The best thing about this platform is the ability to choose from three different levels (basic, intermediate, and advanced) for each of the courses you wish to sign up for.

Filled with tools and resources to guide you through your career path, you can learn more about Singapore’s job climate to guide you when looking for job opportunities. Industry insights and job information are also available on the website to help you find out more about the types of job opportunities available.

As this is a local website, the resources provided are up to date and relevant to local companies so it will be advisable to check out MySkillsFuture during your traineeship.

All Singaporeans who are 25 years and above will receive an opening credit of S$500 to sign up for courses. Tap on your credits and leverage on the resources provided on the website to upskill and find out more about your career goals!

EdX

As result of a collaboration between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, EdX is a platform that has over 2,500 online courses and programmes available for you. Some of the subjects offered are Humanities (Literature, Psychology etc.), Data Science (Data Mining, Quantum Computing etc.) and Computer Science (Blockchain, HTML, Javascript etc.), and you can even learn languages!

If you’re looking to pursue a Master’s degree and you prefer attending lessons online in a flexible format, you can do so with EdX as it offers a variety of degrees from top-ranked universities.

The selection of courses on EdX are mostly school-based subjects compared to the other platforms mentioned above which are more focused on technical skills. The variety of courses would help broaden your knowledge and expertise on specific topics that you would like to explore during your traineeship.


2. Attend networking events, career seminars, symposiums, and career fairs

As the job market slowly recovers, it would be beneficial to attend various virtual networking events or career seminars relating to the industry that you’re interested in.

Virtual job fairs are filled with employees and employers from a wide range of companies and they will be able to walk you through the type of careers you wish to pursue and the types of skills they are looking for. Even though you’re currently doing a traineeship, take this opportunity to understand your desired career objectives or industry to better prepare yourself for your future job.

 
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With the current social distancing measures, physical career fairs are almost impossible to attend. But fear not—here are websites that can provide you with timely information about virtual job fairs:

  • Visit Workforce Singapore’s event page which provides information about the latest career events or job fairs for fresh graduates to attend
  • Keep a lookout on MyCareersFuture website to get updates for ongoing virtual career fairs
  • Check out for upcoming Career seminars and networking events on Eventbrite. There are even career coaching and leadership seminars available

3. Continue to build and update your portfolio

Trainees can continue to update their LinkedIn profiles or build up their portfolios to let employers know that they are actively upgrading their skills. As recruiters are on the search for potential candidates, they shortlist people based on the skills being promoted on their profiles. If you’ve completed a course or learned new skills, remember to get endorsed for it or take a skills test on LinkedIn.

Another great way to build a portfolio during your traineeship period would be to start a blog to showcase previous works. You could also use graphic design websites like Canva to perk up your resumes to give potential employers a sneak peek at what you can offer.


4. Learn actively through other mediums

Taking up online courses are important ways to gain hard skills, but soft skills like time management, adaptability, and communication skills will be vital to your career goals as well.

Even though gaining relevant hard skills is a great way to impress your future employers, soft skills also play a role in ensuring employability. Being personable, punctual, and reliable are traits that employers look out for during interviews, so make sure to think about those skills too.
 
Other ways to pick up soft skills can include reading books and articles about your desired career path to better understand the job industry, building schedules to improve time management as well as constant self-improvement and personal growth.

Now is the right time to start

Over 84% of employers believe that sending their employees to training will help with their businesses and 60% intend to train their workforce during this downturn.

As the Singapore economy continues to evolve with the Covid-19 pandemic, training and upskilling is especially important during this time as it will enable you to develop stronger resilience, adaptability, and stay relevant. Taking up courses, attending job seminars and building your portfolio are all part of the process in finding out what you’re good at and exploring the type of career path you’re interested in.

The job market may provide limited opportunities right now but it’s never too early to think about your desired career goals and objectives. Take the chance to gain experience, upskill and learn more about yourself during this traineeship period!

You’re not alone in this traineeship journey. Share experiences, stay connected with fellow trainees and be updated on the latest workshops for fresh graduates, career resources and job opportunities by joining Young NTUC’s LIT XChange Facebook Group, Instagram and Telegram Channel.