ELP – Yvette Poh’s alternative path to pursuing a University Degree

Tell us more about yourself!

My name is Yvette Poh and I just graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Diploma in Hotel Leisure and Facilities Management. Currently, I am working at Engie Services Singapore Pte Ltd as a Property Executive through the Earn and Learn Programme (ELP).

I am a huge fan of Japan. My dream is to visit every part of Japan and I am currently, slowly realizing that dream by travelling to 1 part of Japan every year. My hobbies include singing, karaoke, watching Japanese drama and fangirling over BTS<3

My goal in life is to be happy no matter what I do and to not regret decisions I make. If I allowed myself to regret the choices I made, I would never be able to live life fully. So I don’t do that! Make the right choices and never regret them 🙂

Do you remember the time when you graduated, and you were thinking about the next step? What was going through your head?

When I was nearing the end of my last semester, I was very fixated in getting a full-time job instead of going to University immediately. I’ve spent a big part of my life studying and after 4 years at NP (PFP), I wanted a break and a change.

So, I started looking for a full-time opportunity. I was very proactive in my job search and had submitted multiple applications, but none of the companies got back to me. It was really hard getting a full-time job 🙁

What made you decide on the Earn and Learn Programme, eventually?

I heard about the ELP in January through an email my lecturer sent. When I saw that I have the opportunity to work full-time and to upgrade myself with a sponsored Specialist Diploma (SD), I became very interested.

I spoke to my Lecturer and she encouraged me to take this path, as it will expose me to the real working world, gain experience and study at the same time. My parents too, were very encouraging and felt that this program was a good opportunity for me.

How do you find your Earn and Learn Programme experience?

As an ELP student, I was given tasks to do like any other full-time executives. However, I had the chance to move around to different sites and learn what is going on at each site. I was also exposed to different roles in a Facility Management department. For example, I was trained to be a full-fledged receptionist.

A typical work week sees me heading down to different sites for a week or so to learn about the job-scopes on-site. In the office, I have the usual managing of emails, calling of contracts, billing to clients etc.

In all, I’m enjoying my work at ENGIE services. During my first 2 months of my work, I was posted to an office site where the team members were very fun, caring and helpful. Especially so for the on-manager, who was a joy to work with 🙂 He would help me whenever I was stuck at something and would not hold back praises when we did something good.

My team members at different sites were also a joy to work with and I received a lot of help from them. As I am a fresh graduate with no experience, they did not hold back in teaching and providing feedback.

Lessons in school are very manageable and at a comfortable pace. It is less stressful than studying full time, of course! By working in the related field, I could understand the lessons more and relate to it better.

Were there any difficulties that you faced? How did you overcome them?

Even though the lessons were of a comfortable pace, I can’t seem to find the time to study for tests and exams. Haha. Sometimes, when I have a free time at work, I’ll use it to study. Fortunately, my office is very conducive for studying 🙂

How did you grow and develop as an individual?

ELP challenged the knowledge that I received in school by forcing me to apply what I learnt. The environment also forces me to work and think fast, a very different pace compared to when I was a student.

I used to take my time to complete my work back in school.

I can think more maturely now than in the past and I am very glad. People used to call me childish. My experience through ELP is training me to be more mature and I like it because more people are taking my words and thoughts seriously.

Did Earn and Learn Programme help you in your career discovery journey? Are you more certain on your dream career now that you are in this programme?

ELP helped me to learn more about the industry I want to pursue.

I used to think that FM may not be what I want to do in the future. Now that I’ve got a taste of the industry and in an adult environment, I realised that it’s not a bad industry after all and I can see myself in such a career.

Could you share some advice to your juniors who are deciding on the next step after graduation?

I’d love to 🙂

ELP is another choice you can think of apart from going to University. It gives a head start for people who are considering not to pursue a degree.

For those who are pursuing a degree, the experience can help you in your University application after the programme. The work experience and SD will improve your application and also allow some of your related degree modules to be exempted. Cheers to graduating early 🙂

What’s best about ELP is that you can work full time, earn a full time pay so you can take annual leave and go for holiday! Hahaha just kidding.

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