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October 2000, Vol. 3 No. 5 Print Ready ArticlePrint-Ready
Practical Training Scheme at the Departments of Building and Real Estate
Mr Teo Pin
Department of Building/ Chairman, Practical Training Scheme
Associate Professor Alice Christudason
Department of Real Estate/ Associate Director, CDTL

Under the provisions of the course curriculum, students at the Departments of Building and Real Estate in the School of Design & Environment are required to undergo 9 weeks of approved practical training in each of the second and third years of the course. The Departments view the Practical Training Scheme as a tripartite responsibility involving the outside host organisation, the student, and the University.


The objectives of the Scheme are:

  1. to enable the student to apply the knowledge gained from academic studies to practical situations;
  2. to enhance the student’s understanding of the relevance of the theoretical studies to the construction and real estate industries in its practical perspective; and
  3. to afford the student the chance to experience at first hand, a working situation in the construction and real estate industries, local or overseas.


Practical training gives students the opportunity to participate in, supervise, monitor, or at least, watch and understand how construction-related operations and management processes are carried out. Building students are attached to well-known quantity surveying firms (doing measurement work and assisting in projects), contracting and consultancy organisations, statutory boards, Town Councils, government departments, and research projects in the Departments. Most of the Real Estate students are attached to established property consultancy companies involved in management, leasing, valuation, and research.


The Departments assist in finding Practical Training placements for the students. Each student has two supervisors during the period of practical training, one being provided by the employer and the other by the School. The supervisors are responsible for ensuring that the training meets the requirements of the course. They jointly develop and agree on a training programme for the student prior to the commencement of the student’s attachment and monitor the student’s progress. The School’s supervisor visits the student at least twice during the period to liase with the student and the other supervisor and to discuss the student’s work, progress, and any problems encountered.
During the period, each student is required to keep a Log Book and to record his/her work in sufficient detail to provide evidence of satisfaction of the curriculum requirements and the agreed training programme. The Log Book is endorsed by the external supervisor week by week and by the internal supervisor during liaison visits. On completion for the period, the responsible staff member certifies satisfaction of the overall requirements. Each student is further required to prepare, and submit for the approval of the staff supervisor, a 1000- to 2000-word report on two out of a given range of relevant aspects of the industrial situation.


In recent years, students have been encouraged to undertake their Practical Training overseas. Undergraduate students from the Departments have been attached to organisations in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom for the industrial orientation. Despite initial adjustment problems to climate, people and culture, all the students have found their overseas training very educational, horizon-expanding, and enriching.

Says one student who was on a 9-week attachment in an international property company (providing property-related services including property management, valuation, mortgage, and building consultancy) about her experience:

“Having a chance to work overseas not only allowed me to acquire new knowledge from work, but also enabled me to improve myself in handling human relations in terms of meeting and mingling well with different people. It is an unforgettable experience and has given me a chance to really understand and experience life in another country…”

This is the general consensus of students attached overseas: they learnt to be more independent and gained a broader outlook of professional practice in their respective disciplines. More students have since indicated keen interest to do their practical training overseas. With the increasing drive to globalise the Singaporean worker, this trend will help to better prepare Building and Real Estate graduates for the international challenges ahead.

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Inside this issue
Organising Apprenticeship Programmes: Methods, Pitfalls and Optimisation
Setting Up the Department of Biological Sciences' Professional Placement Programme
Practical Training Scheme at the Departments of Building and Real Estate
The Applied Chemistry Professional Placement Programme
The Virtual Laboratory Platform as a Form of Internet-based Apprenticeship
Civil Service Internship Programme for Political Science Students
Internship for Arts Students in the Talent Development Programme ogramme
Apprenticeship in Postgraduate Orthodontic Training
Student Responses to the Pharmacy Practice Preceptorship Programme