ONE reason why HELP University graduates are easily absorbed into the workplace is their high level of preparedness for employment.
This has been attested to by employers, CEOs and entrepreneurs in a wide spectrum of professions and industries.
The Faculty of Digital Technology and Computing of HELP University has always prided itself on being among the more innovative and forward looking academic departments.
It played a leading role in nurturing a generation of mobile app developers, with many of them winning prizes in industry competitions at the national level.
Currently, the faculty is leading HELP University’s drive to transform into an Analytics Digital University by offering courses and workshops in Big Data and Business Analytics.
The faculty’s programmes include mandatory placements or internships in relevant industries or sectors for students to learn from the theoretical knowledge studied in the classroom.
This learning mode has now been taken a step further with the implementation of Work Based Learning (WBL) as a key component of the students’ experiential education for the faculty’s Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) programme.
Students now have the option of studying for two years at the university and spending the entire third year in an IT company or organisation of their choice.
The WBL mode is based on sound pedagogical principles: it helps students learn how the things they studied in the classroom are connected to the real world. They have first-hand exposure to business and industry workplaces. The dynamic experiences and activities that drive these organisations cannot be replicated in campus settings.
It is also a great way for them to explore career options.
WBL is a progression of the internship idea: the students will continue to “study” while they work. WBL immerses students in planned, practical, educationally purposeful experiences in professional, work-related settings.
Classroom knowledge comes alive as the students have the opportunity to explore and reflect on academic theory in practice, in a dynamic organisational environment.
WBL is meticulously designed to cover the curricular, skills and knowledge requirements of the HELP BIT programme and matched with the requisite nature of the work or business conducted by the host organisation.
The faculty’s lecturers supervise and assess the students’ work jointly with the industry mentors.
The students also return to campus periodically for discussions, revision classes and project presentations. And the students continue to earn academic credits on the job, thus conferring a double benefit on them. They are also paid a monthly allowance.
During the attachment, students are able to build a valuable network of professional contacts as well as bolster their resume or CV towards gainful employment or progress to other organisations.
Testimonies from two HELP BIT students who successfully completed their attachment at Pilot Multimedia, a leading IT company providing advisory and consultancy services in risk management and data analytics, point to the value of WBL, which has been accepted by both students and their host organisations.
AK Muhammad Wafiy Md Damit said: “The hands-on experience of working within the industry for a year gives solid substance and real benefits.”
“One of my most valuable experiences involved the migration of big data from an old database system into a newer one in an attempt to increase accuracy. I learned a lot about big data and the Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process.
“I got to learn different platforms or technologies from the industry,” he said.
Hannah Goh said spending a year in the industry allowed her to connect theoretical concepts to practical ones, giving her an advantage over other fresh graduates in the workplace.
“I was attracted to the prospect of the guaranteed year of working experience, boosting the level of attractiveness of my resume and increasing my employability when entering the industry following graduation,” she said.
Faculty of Digital Technology and Computing dean Dr Sien Ven Yu said the challenges and the exposure of the work experience actually placed them among the highest scoring students in their cohort.
Pilot Multimedia, the host company, complimented the HELP students with this assessment: “The students are highly adaptable and independent. They are able to learn new skills quickly, and to effectively tackle problems with innovative solutions. We want more HELP IT students!”
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