Careers enhanced by their degrees
MS NOORUNNISA Abdul Rahim is very much a people person, having had a keen passion, as she puts it, for "the interaction and dynamics between people" since young.
It's no surprise, then, that her chosen career involves working closely with people from all walks of life. She was previously a primary-school teacher. She has been an addiction counsellor at WE CARE Community Services for over a year.
"I had always had counselling in mind (as a career) but there wasn't an opportunity," Ms Noorunnisa told My Paper. "Most degree programmes I saw mostly involved social work, which is more broad-based."
Then she came across the Bachelor of Counselling programme at SIM University (UniSIM), which she enrolled in in 2008.
The 29-year-old, who holds a teaching diploma from the National Institute of Education, graduated in May last year and started her new job just two months later.
"Content-wise, it is much more specialised and focused. The part-time learning option also appealed to me as it allowed me to pursue a career and a degree simultaneously," she said.
The university, which offers evening and weekend classes, aims to help working professionals and adult learners upgrade by focusing on their needs.
For Ms Noorunnisa, the highlight of her educational journey at UniSIM was in the practicum sessions - about 270 hours in all - required as part of the degree programme.
Besides honing her counselling skills at both her former and current workplaces, she spent time with drug offenders at a halfway house.
"Doing this really enables me to put (what I had learnt in) theory into practice," she said.
And, the degree's varied courses, like Addiction Counselling and Cross-Cultural Counselling - taught by experienced lecturers with vital industry experience - have also proven a boon in her professional life, she added.
The latter, for instance, "puts into perspective the various needs, values and belief systems of the very diverse people I counsel", said Ms Noorunnisa.
"What I studied at UniSIM has been very relevant to what I do now."
Another alumna who says her UniSIM experience has greatly enriched her professional life is Ms Hasanah Abdul Rashid, 28.
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Human Resource Management last year, she has been promoted to the position of senior tax officer at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (Iras), where she has worked since 2007.
Although she currently does not work in Iras' human-resource department, the lass, who also has a diploma in business from Temasek Polytechnic, hopes to make a transfer if the opportunity arises.
Nonetheless, she has found that her degree programme has benefited her in her daily work.
Courses like Speaking with Confidence and Career Development Counselling, she explained, have helped sharpen her presentation skills, which she often utilise as her job involves training other people.
"I have also put some of the human-resource skills learnt to good use in the mentoring and coaching of new staff at work," she added.
Juggling school and work may have proved a challenge, but Ms Hasanah is glad she took the step to upgrade her qualifications.
"Besides learning new things, I've met new friends - all working adults who are able to share real-life industry experiences - and had great lecturers who are very knowledgeable in their fields," she said.
"To stay competitive and relevant (in the workforce), one has to engage oneself in continual upgrading and learning...there is no end to education," she added.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY SIM UNIVERSITY