At the 15th Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) meeting in Chongqing, China today, Minister for Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, and People’s Republic of China’s Vice Minister for Human Resources and Social Security, Mr You Jun, signed an agreement to facilitate internship exchanges for students and recent graduates. The agreement covers the equivalent of universities and polytechnics on both sides. The Youth Interns Exchange Scheme (YES), to be launched in 2020, is the first bilateral internship exchange scheme that Singapore has signed with another country. Singapore is also the first Asian country with which China has signed such an agreement.
2. With YES, up to 500 Singaporean full-time students and recent graduates1 from the Autonomous Universities (AUs) and the polytechnics each year will be able to secure an internship visa and apply for internships with China-based companies of their choice, for a period of up to six months. Currently, these tertiary students will not be able to secure such visas for internships. Likewise, the same number of Chinese students and recent graduates2
from similar institutions will be able to participate in internships for the same duration in Singapore.
3. The scheme will allow Singaporean youths to gain experience working in China, and a deeper appreciation of its economy and rich culture, and foster new friendships and ties. Similarly, Chinese youths will be able to gain a better understanding of Singapore and build networks here. The programme will facilitate more people-to-people interactions between our two countries. Besides being a useful learning experience for the participants, by involving a young generation, it will enhance mutual understanding and cooperation for the long term.
4. On the scheme, Mr Ong said: “Being able to work with people from different cultures is now an essential 21st Century Skill. I am confident that our students will leverage YES to gain insight into China, understand its dynamic entrepreneurial system, broaden their horizons, and acquire critical soft skills. Chinese students who experience internships in Singapore will also get to know their counterparts here, and appreciate our strong economic ties with the Southeast Asia region and beyond. It may be only a few months of experience but it can leave a deep impression. In future, if the young participants of YES intend to start their own businesses or invest overseas, I hope they will consider each other’s countries.”
5. Business China will administer the scheme, in terms of providing information on internship opportunities and the internship visa application process, as well as matching companies’ demand and applications from interested youth. Business China CEO, Ms Tin Pei Ling shared: “We are pleased to play a key role in this very meaningful bilateral initiative. This scheme supports Singapore companies with global aspirations in building up its talent pipeline and enables Chinese companies to learn more about Singapore and our region. YES’ website will also be a one-stop platform that facilitates the matching of youth talents and enterprises. Most importantly, this initiative will allow youths from each country to better understand each other’s business and social culture, and cultivate lasting ties.” More details on the application process will be released in due course.
Recent graduates from Singapore should have successfully completed their full-time studies not more than one calendar year prior to the time of application.
Recent graduates from China should have successfully completed their full-time studies not more than one calendar year prior to the time of application, and must have obtained their high school diploma.