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Servcorp Business Excellence Award

Posted By Administration, Thursday, 20 February 2014

Awarded to the organisation that, in the opinion of the judging panel and the president of AustCham, has demonstrated the most outstanding performance in its field

Recipient: James Cook University Australia

The recipient of this year’s AustCham Business Excellence Award, sponsored by Servcorp, will need a large trophy cabinet. James Cook University has been awarded a number of Singapore awards, including two community engagement awards presented by Singapore’s Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong earlier this year.

JCU’s Vice Chancellor and President Professor Sandra Harding says the AustCham award affirms JCU Singapore’s position as an institution of higher education in Singapore.

"Since we started our operations in Singapore in 2003, we have committed ourselves to deliver quality education and ensure that our business processes are consistent with the demands of the Singapore education sector,” says Professor Harding.

JCU Australia established its Singapore campus nine years ago with only 50 students. The move was part of its expressed intent in ‘Creating a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide through graduates and discoveries that make a difference’.

Today, JCU Singapore has two campuses with close to 3000 students and it offers:

  • undergraduate programs in accounting, business, environmental science, information technology, marketing, psychology and tourism
  • postgraduate programs in accounting, business education, guidance and counseling, information technology and psychology
  • doctorate programs in psychology.

JCU students in Singapore study the same curriculum as their fellow JCU students based in Australia, but enjoy course content contextualised to the Asian region. According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Head of the Singapore Campus, Dr Dale Anderson, this approach "ensures high quality, while at the same time maintaining a local relevance”.

The university is ranked in the top 4%* of universities in the world and is the leading tropical research university in Australia. It is also the first Australian university to be awarded Singapore Quality Class for Private Education Organisations (SQC-PEO) certification, in 2008, and again in 2012.

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

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Tags:  James Cook University Australia  Servcorp Business Excellence Award  The Singapore Story 

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Know the rules: Employing/training foreign students in Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Students of foreign nationality are not permitted to work in Singapore unless they are granted Work Pass exemption under an Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Pass Exemptions) Notification. This includes work during school/university terms and during holiday periods.

Foreign students and trainees coming to Singapore under training attachment programs can be eligible for the Training Employment Pass, Training Work Permit or Work Holiday Programme. The Singapore Government warns that foreign students will be prosecuted under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act (EFMA) if they are found working in Singapore without a valid work pass.

Training Employment Pass

Foreigners undergoing practical training attachments for professional, managerial, executive or specialist jobs in Singapore should apply for a Training Employment Pass (TEP).

The following foreigners may be eligible for the TEP: students whose training attachment in Singapore is part of an undergraduate degree from an acceptable institution, or who are earning a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3000; and trainees from foreign offices or subsidiaries who are earning a fixed monthly salary of at least S$3000.

Applicants must not have previously held a TEP for similar training. The Training Employment Pass is valid for up to three months and is non-renewable.

Training Work Permit

The Training Work Permit (TWP) allows unskilled or semi-skilled foreign trainees undergoing practical training in Singapore to work for up to six months.

An employer can apply for a TWP for semi- skilled or unskilled employees from related overseas companies to undergo training in Singapore, or for foreign students studying in educational institutions in Singapore.

Employers are permitted to hire TWP holders at 5% of their total workforce or 15 trainees, whichever is lower. Their total workforce includes locals, S Pass holders and Work Permit holders only. This means that 5% of your total workforce can be TWP holders. This is an additional 5% over and above your company’s Dependency Ratio Ceiling for foreign workers.

The TWP is valid for up to six months.

Work Holiday Programme

The Work Holiday Programme (WHP) allows foreign university students and recent graduates, aged between 18 and 25 years, to come to Singapore to live and work for up to six months.

The WHP applies to university undergraduates and graduates of all nationalities studying in selected universities in eight countries/territories: Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In addition, the universities must be ranked among the top 200 in any of the following international rankings within the past five years: Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings, Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Academic Ranking of World Universities or Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Undergraduates must be resident and full-time students of the university for at least three months prior to the submission of the WHP application; graduates must be former resident and full-time students of the university.

The WHP has a capacity for 2000 applicants at any one point in time. Applicants must not hold a WHP within 12 months from the submission of the application. Successful applicants who have obtained the WHP are allowed to live and work in Singapore for up to six months and are not restricted to only specific types of work. However, existing licensing, registration or accreditation requirements (e.g. medicine or law) will apply.

For further information on eligibility, conditions and the application process for work or training passes for foreign students and trainees contact the Ministry of Manpower or visit its website at

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

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Tags:  Education  Employment of Foreign Manpower 

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Top tips Choosing a school in Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

One of the most important decisions you will make as a parent is deciding which school to enrol your child in. The right school can be pivotal for a child’s academic and social development. Staff of Stamford American International School meet families in the process of making this important decision on a daily basis and, while the answer depends on each family’s differing priorities and needs, there are some key areas to consider when choosing a school.

Curriculum: while it may seem natural to lean towards the curriculum of your national identity, you should also explore different curricula that might better suit your child’s learning styles, such as the interactive International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

Foreign language: foreign language development is increasingly important. Consider the languages on offer and the frequency and structure of the language program.

Location: choose a school that is central, easily accessible or convenient to your home or workplace. While Singapore is small, you don’t want to add unnecessary stress to daily travel. Consider options for transport provided by the school, such as a door-to- door bus service, as well as the convenience of public or personal transport.

Campus: in addition to location, the quality and maintenance of campus facilities are important considerations. Buildings can age quickly in the tropics. Another key factor is the length of a school’s lease as the Singapore Government can rezone an area, potentially causing a disruptive move for students or a decline in campus standards.

Class size and teacher quality: class size and student:teacher ratios are important, particularly for younger students; however, good ratios don’t always ensure teacher quality. It’s wise to also consider a school’s focus on recruitment, training and professional development of its teaching faculty.

Broad exposure: strong academic programs are important, especially for older students, but a school should have a balanced program beyond that. Investigate opportunities such as specialty instruction in the arts, dance, drama, music, physical education and technology; either within the required curriculum or as after school activities. School can be a great place for students to explore and develop interests.

Parent involvement: some parents love to be active in the school community and others do not, or simply do not have the time. Understanding your preference and the parent culture at each school is important toget a sense for whether it’s the right fit for your child, your family and you.

Eve Rogove
Director of Admissions and Marketing
Stamford American International School

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

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Tags:  Education  SAIS  Singapore 

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Facilitated visual planning a new leadership model

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

"Was there a time in your career when you were on the receiving end of a marketing plan or business strategy change in which you had no input?"

For junior or middle managers this situation is not unusual, but for those in more senior positions this can raise questions around exclusion and self worth, and often results in a resistance to buy-in.

In many organisational cultures leaders are conditioned to operate from an ego-centric orientation. People who are promoted to the top tend to be those who are best at making themselves (and their opinions) heard in meetings, which is seen as a mark of authority.

Leadership behaviour focuses on the leader being the prime driver of creating strategy, making decisions and dictating action. Vital success factors, such as effective business planning and strategy, become the domain of a smaller, closed group of senior team members. In this instance, it’s not unusual for well-intentioned manager egos to compete, resulting in delays, redirections or even sabotage of the strategy.

One process that’s proven to successfully support leadership engagement is ‘facilitated visual planning’. It stands in stark contrast to a directive top-down leadership style. This method encourages equality in contribution, either among peers or to a wider multi- level staff group, and involves people in a structured and visually intuitive way to engage and align thinking.

In facilitated visual planning, leaders adopt an approach of humility, and accept that they do not hold the answers to the universe. In more hierarchical business cultures this wider, more creative style may initially be viewed as being ‘weak’. It takes courage to adopt a facilitative leadership style. It requires a leader who can think about ‘we’ rather than ‘me’.

A leader who really wants to harness the best from their team will create an environment of trust and respect that allows for a mature depth of dialogue in meetings. A facilitative approach in leading a meeting can enable managers to hold the tension of not making decisions immediately. By encouraging participation from diverse quarters this inevitably leads to better decisions with broader reaching, actionable commitments to which the group involved develops an immediate ownership.

Working visually in business meetings is an effective way to establish equality of understanding and serves to focus alignment on business challenges and strategies. This is especially true across the Asia-Pacific region where English is so often an executive’s second language.

A good facilitator needs to be prepared to ‘go slow to go fast’, rather than seek the quick fix philosophy adopted in many organisations. By involving others to uncover diversity of thinking and by opening up quality conversations, business planning develops in an inclusive way and people feel connected and responsible.

Facilitated visual philosophy interrupts the unhelpful patterns that can occur in traditional approaches to planning. Clarity emerges from visual planning and makes processes, assumptions and decisions explicit, dramatically improving the chances of alignment. The visual nature of the outputs from visual planning makes them clear, engaging and safe for others to contribute to.

The results from adopting a facilitated visual approach to business planning are more likely to lead to sustainable business changes in ways that are relevant, interesting and, importantly, owned by the people who will be responsible for making them a reality.

John Ogier
Director, Meeting Magic Asia Pacific


For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here


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Tags:  career  southern star 

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Global access brings Study Group to Singapore

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, 9 October 2013

International education is big business. In the next decade, it is estimated that seven million students will be studying outside their country of birth. So it’s no wonder that a global access ‘hub’ like Singapore is attracting so many players in this market.

One of the latest is Study Group. Its new Singapore office is rapidly approaching 15 staff, comprising several different nationalities, including Singaporean, Australian, British and German.

Study Group’s Executive Director for Sales and Marketing, Yuri Narciss, has recently joined the company from Google. According to Yuri, access to global markets was a key factor in choosing Singapore as the company’s global marketing and recruitment headquarters.

"With 34 Study Group recruitment offices worldwide and more than 140 student recruitment staff located throughout world, Study Group needed a central global hub with excellent infrastructure and ease of travel. Singapore certainly provides this,” says Yuri.

"Singapore is also an easy place to set up business and has access to outstanding human resources. "It has an outstanding reputation in education, which has attracted many international universities to set up programs here and there is no doubt Study Group is considering the transnational educational opportunities here. At the same time many parents and students in Singapore, and the wider region, are also aware of the value of an educational experience abroad,” says Yuri.

"Study Group aims to be the global leader in providing programs that create superior career outcomes for students and achieve the goals of partner institutions,” adds Yuri.

"While Study Group is acutely aware of the importance of face-to-face engagement with students, we’re also focused on becoming industry leaders in the provision of education online.”

Working with partner universities and its own colleges, Study Group now partners with more than 100 higher education institutions worldwide, and more than 50,000 students enrol in one of its programs annually.

In Australia, Study Group offers:

• years 10, 11 and 12 at Taylors College, its international school, located in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth

• pathway programs for Flinders University, University of Sydney and University of Western Australia

• vocational diplomas and degree programs (face-to-face and online delivery modes) through the Australian College of Physical Education, Australian Institute of Applied Sciences and Martin College

• English language programs at its Embassy Language Schools in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney

• business and technology degrees from Charles Sturt University through managed campuses in Sydney and Melbourne.

Study Group’s activities in Singapore are focused on the recruitment of students into one of its destination countries, including Australia, as well as the global management of its marketing activities.

"With a network of more than 100,000 Singaporeans who have studied in Australia and a history of education partnership that dates back to the 1950s, Study Group is proud to have set up our global recruitment headquarters here, and we look forward to continuing to help educate the future business, government and academic leaders of the region,” says Yuri.

For more stories about 'The Singapore Story', click here 

To learn about the benefits of membership to AustCham, click here

To check out our coming events, click here

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Tags:  southern star  study group 

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