Press Release - ITE and RSAF Introduce First Work-Study Diploma for Full-Time National Servicemen

News details
  • Publish date:23 Sep 2020


Work-Study Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering to train ITE graduates as Air Force Technicians while serving National Service

The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) have launched a new Work-Study Diploma (WSDip) in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering, which provides training and certification for Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) serving as Air Force Technicians.

This is the first WSDip programme for NSFs – which allows them to work as Air Force Technicians, serve their National Service, and attain a Diploma at the same time. It is open to NSFs with relevant ITE qualifications, in areas such as Aerospace Technology, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Robotics.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, ITE and RSAF will be collaborating with ST Engineering Aerospace Limited, SIA Engineering Company Limited, and the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) to develop the training curriculum for the programme. In addition, ST Engineering, SIA Engineering Company Limited, and the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) will be according recognition to the programme for employment of its graduates.

Training the Next Generation of Skilled Aircraft Technicians

Designed to build a pipeline of skilled aircraft technicians for the RSAF and the aerospace industry, the WSDip in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering would equip trainees with industry-relevant skills in performing maintenance of aircraft structures and systems. It also serves as an alternative pathway for ITE graduates to upskill themselves and build their careers in the aerospace industry.

The course will be conducted over 2½ years, with 70% of the curriculum comprising on-the-job training at RSAF, and the remaining 30% comprising theory and practical training at ITE. This is similar to other WSDip programmes by ITE.

The first intake for the WSDip in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering will commence training in April 2021.

Graduates of the programme may sign on as regulars and be employed as an Air Force Engineer (Maintenance) under the Military Domain Expert Scheme in the RSAF. They may also pursue career opportunities in aircraft maintenance in the aerospace industry, with ST Engineering Aerospace Limited, SIA Engineering Company Limited, or member companies from the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore).

Ms Low Khah Gek, Chief Executive Officer of ITE, said, “The launch of this programme marks a significant milestone in our continuing efforts to expand skills upgrading and career progression opportunities for our graduates. What is unique about the programme is that graduates get to acquire the desired skills and a recognised Diploma, while completing their National Service. Combined with the strong support from our industry partners in recognising the programme certification, this gives a valuable boost for our graduates to kick-start their careers in the aerospace sector.”

She added, “In the same vein, ITE will also be collaborating with the Army to extend the WSDip in Electrical Engineering to NSFs serving as Army Technicians.”

Major-General (MG) Kelvin Khong, Chief of Air Force, said, “The Work-Study Diploma programme allows ITE graduates to continue building on what they have learnt while serving NS. They will be able to upgrade their skills and qualifications while serving in operational roles in the RSAF at the same time. This will also open up career pathways for them in the aerospace industry after they complete their NS duties with the RSAF. In the current climate where the aviation sector is hard hit by COVID-19, we need to continue supporting employment and training for workers in this sector, so that the workforce is ready when aviation starts to recover, and we can help our aviation sector emerge from this COVID-19 pandemic stronger.”

Mr Lim Serh Ghee, President of Aerospace, ST Engineering, said, “Ensuring a strong pipeline of talent to grow with the aerospace industry’s evolving needs has always been part of ST Engineering’s focus. This collaboration with the Institute of Technical Education and the Republic of Singapore Air Force offers a good platform to jumpstart a career in the aerospace sector, and we look forward to contributing our industry expertise and knowledge to help develop a rigorous course curriculum for participants.”

Mr Ng Chin Hwee, Chief Executive Officer of SIA Engineering Company Limited, said, “Aircraft maintenance skills and experience are the core competencies of aircraft technicians. This Work-Study Diploma creates a pathway for participants to work towards a Diploma qualification, hone their practical skills and gain valuable industry-relevant experience whilst serving National Service. SIA Engineering Company fully supports this programme and will tap on this pool of qualified RSAF technicians when they ultimately transit from military service.”

Mr Philip Quek, President of the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) (AAIS), said, “Despite the current slowdown in air transport, there is strong consensus that the long-term prospects for the Singapore aerospace industry remain positive. We must ensure that we have the capabilities and talent to support the upturn in aviation when we eventually emerge from this crisis. AAIS is pleased to support this programme, which will develop a pool of well-trained technicians with rich hands-on experience, who can add value to the future of aerospace here. We look forward to supporting servicemen who choose to pursue careers in commercial aerospace after their tenure, by connecting them to opportunities.”

More details on the WSDip in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering can be found in Annex A.

About the Republic of Singapore Air Force

The RSAF is a First Class Air Force, always ready to deter aggression and defend Singapore and its interest. We will respond decisively to the full spectrum of missions from peace to war as part of an integrated SAF. We will be superior in the air and decisively influence the ground and maritime battles. The RSAF is founded on the core values and competencies of its World Class People. We are committed to the nation, the SAF, the RSAF and to one another. Together, we will overcome adversity with courage and fortitude. Above all, our people are the heart of our organisation.

About ST Engineering

ST Engineering is a global technology, defence and engineering group specialising in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. The Group employs about 23,000 people across offices in Asia, U.S., Europe and the Middle East, serving customers in the defence, government and commercial segments in more than 100 countries. With more than 700 smart city projects across 130 cities in its track record, the Group continues to help transform cities through its suite of Smart Mobility, Smart Security and Smart Environment solutions. Headquartered in Singapore, ST Engineering reported revenue of $7.9b in FY2019 and it ranks among the largest companies listed on the Singapore Exchange. It is a component stock of the FTSE Straits Times Index, MSCI Singapore, SGX ESG Transparency Index and SGX ESG Leaders Index.

About SIA Engineering Company Limited
(Company Registration No. 198201025C) 

SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) is a major provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in Asia-Pacific. SIAEC has a client base of more than 80 international carriers and aerospace equipment manufacturers. It provides line maintenance services at 35 airports in 7 countries, as well as airframe and component services on some of the most advanced and widely used commercial aircraft in the world. Apart from MRO services, SIAEC also offers a comprehensive and integrated suite of solutions under its fleet management services.

The 26 subsidiaries and joint ventures with original equipment manufacturers and strategic partners in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, United States, Vietnam and Thailand increase the depth and breadth of the Company’s service offerings. SIAEC has approvals from 25 national aviation regulatory authorities to provide MRO services for aircraft registered in the U.S., Europe, China and other countries.

Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore)

The Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) or AAIS, is a not-for-profit organisation established in 2003 to promote the development of Singapore as a leading aerospace hub. AAIS represents companies involved in aviation, aerospace and unmanned aircraft systems, including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), manufacturing, parts distribution, research & development, training and education, and aftermarket services. It serves as the voice of industry to influence future directions and policies, facilitates business, and engenders the development of the industry community. For more information, visit .

Annex A

Fact Sheet: Work-Study Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering for Full-Time National Servicemen


1.         The Work-Study Diploma (WSDip) in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering for Full-time National Servicemen (NSF) Air Force Technicians (AFT) is a 2 ½ year programme conducted by ITE and RSAF that will be offered to ITE graduates to concurrently serve their National Service and earn a MINDEF-sponsored diploma. In this programme, trainees will be equipped with skills and knowledge to perform maintenance of aircraft structures, systems (mechanical, electrical and avionics) and associated components.

2.         Typically, trainees will spend the first six months of their National Service on basic training (including three months of Basic Military Training and three months of vocational training) before commencing the 2½ years WSDip programme. Hence, trainees will spend a minimum of three years with the RSAF.

Who Can Apply?


3.         The programme is open to pre-enlistees2  and fresh ITE graduates who are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents. Applicants must (a) meet the AFT vocation criteria, (b) agree to extend NS service, and (c) pass a pre-selection test, in order to be shortlisted.

4.         They must have completed a relevant Nitec course with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.0, or a relevant Higher Nitec course, as indicated below:

Nitec inHigher Nitec in
  • Aerospace Avionics
  • Aerospace Technology
  • Electrical Technology (Power & Control)
  • Electrical Technology (Lighting &   Sound)
  • Electronics, Computer Networking & Communications
  • Electronics & Internet of Things
  • Mechatronics & Robotics
  • Mechanical Technology
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Electronics Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Robotics & Smart Systems
Projected Training Places

5.         The programme will have an annual intake of at least 20 slots.

Career Prospects and Progression Pathways


7.         Interested applicants may call the RSAF hotline at 1800-270-1010.

1  In 2019, the Singapore Army signed an MoU with ITE, the Singapore University of Social Sciences and the five local polytechnics to develop the professional training and certification for servicemen serving in the Army’s Combat Service Support Command. The pioneer batch of regulars started their WSDip courses in October 2019, while a similar scheme for NSF technicians will be rolled out in April 2021.

2  As the first intake of the WSDip programme will only commence in April 2021, the first batch of applicants comprises applicants who are currently enlisted for full-time NS. They may serve more than six months before starting the WSDip programme. This is unique to the first intake.