Bridging the gap between theory and practice, the Innovation & Design Programme (iDP) is designed for National University of Singapore (NUS) Engineering students to hone their engineering and entrepreneurial skills through real-world projects. Fully convinced of the positive impact of the iDP, leading electronic components distributor Excelpoint Systems (Pte) Ltd has been funding the programme since 2017, via a gift of S$300,000 that is to be disbursed over five years. Mr Albert Phuay, founder, Chairman and Group CEO of Excelpoint, tells us why.
Why did you choose to support the iDP at NUS?
We strongly believe that the spirit of innovation and enterprise starts from young, and we have always wanted to extend our support to a home-grown tertiary institution renowned globally for its quality, practical and holistic academic programmes and research achievements. Through this sponsorship, we hope students could spark new ideas, products and technologies that could improve lives, enhance productivity, and create opportunities and a better future for Singapore.
At Excelpoint, we believe strongly in innovative technologies. We are constantly exploring new ideas, engaging in brainstorming, and working to bring our ideas to fruition. Hence, when we came across the iDP, we felt that this programme was in line with our vision and values, and thought we could lend a helping hand to the students and let them focus on the innovation process without having to worry about funding.
How important is it for Engineering students to have experiential learning?
Classroom learning is important, but what is even more relevant is how you use that learning in real-life scenarios. Thus, it is necessary for students to gain more first-hand work experiences, so that they are equipped with both technical proficiencies and practical experiences. Especially for engineering, the students need to see the supply chain, understand what technical capabilities are needed, and through such practical work, they will gain insight and knowledge into what the actual day-to-day work activities and responsibilities entail. They will also be in touch with the latest industry trends, and attain an in-depth understanding of industry best practices. In addition, they will get to experience industry and real-life challenges and learn how to overcome them, and come up with innovative solutions that can drive growth and also be commercialised.
What advice do you have for students on this Programme?
There is no such thing as a bad idea. Keep an open mind, be bold, and let your ideas take flight. However, always remember the objective of how this idea came about. The end goal and vision need to be set, whilst the process can be adapted and changed along the way. Always hold the notion that you may have a eureka moment and create something that can disrupt and change the world.
Has Excelpoint hired or provided internship for NUS Engineering students, and how was the experience?
We have worked with NUS Engineering graduates, and found them to be confident and mature. They have versatile skill sets and excellent problem-solving abilities. With the iDP, we look forward to welcoming more competent graduates to our organisation where we can work hand in hand to drive synergies in the electronics and technology ecosystems.