To better align its courses with manpower needs and industry trends, Kaplan Singapore has set up six advisory boards in areas such as banking and finance, IT and project management.

The boards, made up of 46 senior executives from various sectors, provide input to ensure that Kaplan’s curricula are more industry-oriented. They do so by sharing viewpoints and employment demands.

“The boards will point out the gaps in the existing programmes or in opportunities for students to prepare them to meet industry needs,” said Mr Chris Harris, executive dean for schools and senior director for industry engagement at Kaplan Singapore. He said the quality and diversity of the participating representatives will allow for better understanding of each industry’s needs: 21 are from multinational companies and 25 from small and medium-sized enterprises.

Kaplan, a private school, offers more than 300 full- and part-time academic programmes, including degree courses from Murdoch University. It has more than 30,000 young and adult students.

“Everything is being disrupted today and there’s a need for us to help youth become more relevant and bring added value to industries,” said 77th Street founder Elim Chew, owner of Kokomama and I’m Kim Korean Barbecue. She chairs the hotels, food and beverage, tourism and events advisory board.

The Industry Advisory Boards programme has been running since July last year and all six boards have held two meetings. The first discussed industry trends and the second looked at how to improve the curricula.

Ms Julaila Latiff, 20, who is pursuing a diploma in mass communications at Kaplan, said students previously had to complete a radio broadcasting module, but this was replaced by a smartphone video production module after input from the advisory board. “The new hands-on module is very helpful and we are able to show the end product to hiring companies,” she said.

This is the first time a private educational institution has set up advisory boards aimed at producing career- ready graduates. A key measure of success for the advisory boards will be Kaplan’s standing in future graduate employment surveys.

Click to view PDF

Article by Yap Li Yin
Source: The Straits Times© Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.