Vocational Education

Initially, vocational education in Singapore carried a negative stigma and was looked down upon as a dead-end option for underachieving students. In the 1960s, it was considered less than socially desirable educational option as vocational education was perceived that these schools were for low achieving students. Societal prejudice against less academically inclined students and vocational educational was regarded low quality and typically out of step with the changing needs of employers. The perception of technical and vocational education in Singapore are slowly changing as parents are starting to realize that there are alternative choices for decent employment outcomes as the greater Singaporean society values vocational and technical skills highly and sees them as crucial to the country's economic development. Vocational education has been an important part of Singapore's unique economic planning since 1992, where it began to transform and change the perception of vocational education and decided to transform and preposition it so that it was not seen as a place of last resort for underachieving pupils. Vocational schools such as the Institute of Technical Education were intended to revolutionize vocational education and portray the institution as a world-class example of the importance of vocational skills being translated to a 21st century knowledge-based economy. Since 1995, enrollment in vocational schools has doubled, now making up 65% of the cohort who go on to post-secondary education (ages 16-18), with 25% accepted into the ITE and another 40% attending polytechnic universities.

Institute of Technical Education
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is a vocational school that accepts students based on their GCE "O" level or GCE "N" level results and they provide two-year courses leading to a locally recognized "National ITE Certificate". There are three ITE colleges in Singapore. Only a few ITE graduates will be able to continue their education at polytechnics and arts institution which then, if possible goes on to a university. ITE colleges offer apprenticeships for the skilled trades and diplomas in vocational education for skilled technicians and workers in support roles in professions such as engineering, accountancy, business administration, nursing, medicine, architecture, and law. The ITE is highly recognized vocational institution in producing highly skilled graduates that are in demand by employers. Salaries for ITE graduates, who receive a National ITE Certificate (NITEC) or a diploma have also become quite high. ITE provides apprenticeships, professional certificates, licenses and diplomas in business administration, accountancy, woodworking, metalworking, carpentry, drafting, shipbuilding and repairing, transportation and engineering science. As of 2014, 87% of ITE graduates are hired in their fields within six months of graduation, leading more students to see vocational education as a strong alternative besides the traditional route of going to university.

ITE provides four main levels of certification:
Master National ITE Certificate (Master Nitec)
Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec)
National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
Technical Engineer Diploma (TED) (from 2007)

There are also other skills certification through part-time apprenticeship courses conducted jointly by ITE and industrial companies. In addition, trade associations have been set up for workers to raise their quality of work, which in turn benefits industries as a whole. The Creative Craftsman Apprenticeship Programme was launched to develop a pool of skilled local carpenters for the Singapore furniture.