After receiving his Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering from Singapore Polytechnic in 2008 and completing his National Service, Mr Nur Azhar Mohammad started working. He is a member of a repair management team at Sabena technics asia.

Now 28, he recalls a moment of realisation that led him to take up a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) (Honours) from RMIT University (RMIT), via Kaplan Singapore.

“I realised that I cannot progress professionally without having at least a bachelor’s degree. I think it’s essential that one keeps upgrading. Learning doesn’t stop,” he said.

Mr Azhar took several professional courses designed for the aviation industry but felt they weren’t enough. He started researching schools and heard about Kaplan Singapore from a friend who was enrolled there. He enrolled in the part-time degree programme in 2015 and expects to graduate next year.

While he had heard of RMIT, he candidly admitted he didn’t have high expectations initially. “I had the perception that since we are doing distance learning, the university would not be very involved with our programme,” said Mr Azhar.

“I was wrong! We can contact the programme director directly. And he drops by our class regularly to ask for feedback. RMIT also conducts an online survey every semester — it takes our feedback very seriously,” he added.

Mr Azhar found the course helped him develop a professional mindset. “Our lecturers guide us and help us understand concepts that are vital in building a strong foundation.”

As part of his programme, Mr Azhar has two compulsory residential workshops in Melbourne. The first, which took place in January, was held over five days at the Bundoora Campus of RMIT. The second is scheduled for next year.

“The workshop gave me a deeper understanding of what we learnt in class,” he recalled. “We did labs and applied what we learnt over the year. We also went on industrial visits to see how concepts are applied in reality.”

These visits gave Mr Azhar the opportunity to observe and learn about new sustainable energy initiatives, such as wind turbines and a water desalination plant that was also home to an ecological restoration project.

Back home, his classes have given him critical-thinking and problemsolving skills, which have boosted his confidence and decisiveness. “I analyse problems, identify their severity and assess the impact of alternative solutions.”

Thanks to his studies, Mr Azhar is now on the management track at work. “I hope that after I graduate, I will be able to climb higher on the corporate ladder and give whatever I have learnt back to the industry.”

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Article by Nicolette Ong & Melody Tan
Source: TODAY© Mediacorp Press Limited. Permission required for reproduction.