Mr Teo Chee Hean, Senior Minister & Coordinating Minister for National Security
Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education
Ms Theresa Schopper, Minister for Education, Youth & Sports, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Former and Current Permanent Secretaries for Education
Mr Andrew Chong, Chairman, ITE Board of Governors
Former Chairmen and CEOs of ITE
Distinguished International and Local Partners
Current and Former Board Members
Staff, Students and Alumni of ITE
Ladies and Gentlemen
Thirty years ago (in April 1992), the government elevated vocational and technical education by establishing ITE as a post-secondary institution. ITE took over from its predecessor, the Vocational & Industrial Training Board (VITB), with a new mandate to rethink, redesign and reform vocational education from ‘inside out’ and ‘outside in’ in terms of who we teach, what we teach, how we teach, and where we teach.
Over the last 30 years, ITE has transformed in every aspect, not just once, but repeatedly, as we evolve our programmes, infrastructure and systems as well as aim higher and strive for better student and graduate outcomes. The ITE of today is unrecognisable from that of 1992. We have published a Commemorative Photo Book to share the many iconic moments in our 30-year story. We look forward to SM Teo launching the book later.
Perhaps the most visible change has to be our three mega campuses – ITE East, West & Central. They serve as iconic, top-of-mind reminders of how much ITE has transformed. This metamorphosis from ten small, satellite campuses to three mega-campuses is the brainchild of our Guest-of-Honour, Senior Minister Teo, who mooted the idea when he was then-Minister for Education. SM Teo will be elaborating on his thinking for this move to the mega-campus concept.
Acknowledgement of Key Persons
The ITE story is written by many key advocates and change-makers. I want to pay tribute to some of them:
- We thank nine Ministers for Education for their strong support for vocational and technical education, shaping and influencing ITE to be what it is today:
- Mr Lee Yock Suan
- SM Teo
- SM Tharman Shanmugaratnam
- Dr Ng Eng Hen
- DPM Heng Swee Keat
- Mr Ong Ye Kung
- Mr Ng Chee Meng
- DPM Lawrence Wong, and
- Mr Chan Chun Sing, who is our current Minister
- We are indebted to four BOG Chairmen, who have been shining beacons in guiding the management teams, and at times, setting us ‘impossible’ targets!
- The late Dr Tay Eng Soon, who was our first Chairman and whom this Conference Centre is named after
- Mr Eric Gwee
- Mr Bob Tan, and
- Mr Andrew Chong, our current Chairman
- I have been privileged to build on the excellent foundation and achievements of three predecessors, the former CEOs, namely
- Mr Lim Jit Poh, who was VITB’s CEO
- Dr Law Song Seng
- Mr Bruce Poh
Staff – ITE’s Biggest Asset
There is one more very important group of people to thank. They are ITE’s biggest asset – our fervently passionate, dedicated and professional lecturers and staff. They are the key to how ITE has been able to achieve so much with our students over the past three decades. Their utmost care and unstinting support are what our ITE graduates miss most after leaving ITE. ITE students and graduates often share stories of how their lecturers have opened their minds, touched their hearts and impacted their lives.
To all ITE current and former staff, a huge thank you from all of us.
Inspiring, Transforming & Empowering Lives for the Future
For ITE’s 30th Anniversary celebration, we have chosen this theme: Inspiring, Transforming and Empowering Lives for the Future. In the past three decades, all the changes we have made are always with the students in mind. We want to give them the best opportunities to grow and shine. We focus on valuing each individual and working alongside the students as they struggle, discover, progress and blossom.
We keep a close tab on economic and industry developments as well as the changing job roles and skills demand. Over the years we constantly reviewed and made changes to our Nitec and Higher Nitec courses so as to enable our graduates to secure good jobs and build their careers. A more recent significant shift that we have made is to have all ITE students graduate with Higher Nitec (whether in two years or three years). This will give them a stronger foundation and deeper skills to build their future. The transition of all courses to Higher Nitec will be done over a few years and be completed in 2026.
We have also considered our students’ longer term plans and hopes. Many of our graduates aspire to go further in their education and career – to achieve a diploma (and further) as well as to take on higher responsibilities at work. While a number of ITE graduates progress to the Polytechnics, there are still much unrealised aspirations. ITE is convinced our graduates have the potential to go far and we have thus created two additional diploma pathways – i) Technical Diploma pathway and ii) Work-Study Diploma pathway.
Between 2008 to 2010, ITE launched three specialised Technical Diplomas, which are developed in collaboration with internationally renowned institutions.
- Two Technical Engineer Diplomas in Machine Technology and Automotive Engineering are in collaboration with our longest-standing international partner, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (KM), Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
- The Technical Diploma in Culinary Arts is in collaboration with Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France.
Graduates of these Technical Diplomas are much sought after by employers. Given these very positive outcomes, in the coming years, ITE will work with our international partners to increase the Technical Diploma offerings.
The ‘apprenticeship style’ Work-Study Diploma has been a game-changer. It offers ITE graduates the unique opportunity to work and learn (with the main bulk of learning taking place at the workplace) as well as to achieve skills upgrading, a diploma and career progression. Employers co-create the Work-Study Diploma curriculum with ITE and become our co-training partners as they conduct training at the workplace.
We started with 4 WSDip programmes, 41 companies and an intake of 109 trainees in 2018. Four years on, we now have 36 WSDip programmes cutting across different industry sectors, more than 400 companies and 1,884 trainees. There is a significant multiple-fold increase in the number of employers supporting our WSDip. We are grateful to the employers for believing in the potential of ITE graduates, enabling their skills upgrading and supporting them to take on higher responsibilities at work and achieve career progression. Two WSDip cohorts have graduated with very positive outcomes - 91.7% of graduates stay on in the same industry, 85% stay with the same employers and all enjoy an average 20% increase in salary. ITE will continue to expand the WSDip pathway and enable more ITE graduates to upgrade their skills and build successful careers.
ITE’s mission, since 1992, has included the training of adult learners. ITE places strong focus on Continuing Education and Training (CET), supporting the national efforts to continuously upgrade the skills of all workers. We conduct various types of CET courses – longer courses leading to Nitec/Higher Nitec and shorter courses leading to Certificates of Competency.
Partners, Advocates and Supporters
ITE has many supporters and partners who have helped us in our transformation journey. I would like to highlight three important groups:
i) industry partners, ii) international partner education institutions and iii) donors/supporters.
Besides the 400 companies/employers supporting our WSDip training, there is an even larger group of 4,500 companies/employers providing internship for 14,000 students each year. Employers are our critical partners. They provide invaluable inputs for our curricula, training equipment and resources, industry attachment for our staff and learning opportunities for our students. Employers and industry partners have created new value in ITE’s programme offerings and new opportunities for our staff, students and graduates.
International Partner Education Institutions
Over the years, ITE has also developed strategic partnerships across the globe to enable us to benchmark, learn best practices and have our staff and students benefit from overseas exchange programmes, collaborative professional development, inter-institution competitions and seminars as well as international industry experiences.
Donors and Supporters
ITE has also benefitted from many organisations and individuals who have demonstrated immense generosity and deep compassion by contributing towards ITE’s Financial Assistance funds for students or offering their time, ears and hearts to mentor our students.
Our students are touched to know that beyond the ITE staff, there are many others outside ITE who value them, believe in them and are rooting for them to succeed. To all the partners, advocates and supporters of ITE, I want to express our immeasurable gratitude and appreciation.
As we celebrate ITE’s 30th Anniversary today, we will build on the strong groundwork laid over the last three decades and continue to innovate as we create new opportunities and possibilities for our students. With the strong support from MOE, ITE BOG, ITE Alumni, industry, employers, community and countless ITE advocates (which includes everyone present in this auditorium), we can confidently look forward to creating new waves of transformation for ITE in the years to come.
Finally, my appreciation goes out to all my staff and students who have worked hard in the planning and execution of today’s event. A special highlight this evening is the 30th anniversary cake, specially designed, baked and assembled by our students and staff (including Dexter Lee, chef-lecturer at College West who recently came in champion in the Global Pastry Chef Challenge Finals, beating France and Italy). This cake will be spectacular!
I invite everyone to enjoy this evening with us.