Saturday, September 10, 2016

Choosing your full-time National Service NSF vocation: Seven things to note

Sharing the moment: Reviewing officer at Wednesday's Basic Military Training graduation parade, Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, in a candid moment with the SAF's newest soldiers.

In a first for the National Service (NS) system in Singapore, pre-enlistees will be able to indicate their preferred vocation ahead of enlistment day. Life-changing choices will be made by pre-enlistees from this November when they undergo their pre-enlistment medical check-up at the Central Manpower Base (CMPB).

To avoid being flummoxed by the options, here are eight things to know about choosing your NS vocation:

1. Know your vocations: Pre-enlistees will see a list of 33 NSF vocations from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF), grouped into seven categories - three for the SAF and two categories for SCDF and two for SPF. 

2. How to choose: Pre-enlistees must pick at least two from each of the seven categories. That means picking six preferred vocations from SAF, four for the civil defence and four from police. 

3. Get a headstart, download your NS Vocation handbook here. This will help you shortlist your preferred vocations before the medical check-up.

4. You can choose NOT to take part and let the system assign you an NS vocation, the way it's been done for the past 49 years for nearly a million full-time National Servicemen (NSFs).

5. For those with wanderlust, do note that some SAF vocations include overseas training. Places include Australia (Armour, Artillery, Guards), Germany (Armour), New Zealand (Artillery), South Africa (Air Defence) and the United States (Artillery). Vocations under Air Defence, Armour, Artillery, Infantry, Intelligence, Logistics, Signals and Transport all indicate the possibility of overseas training.

6. The list of 33 vocations does not encompass the full spectrum of NSF vocations. So be prepared to serve in a vocation that isn't in the NS Vocation handbook.

7. Choosing doesn't mean getting. Operational requirements dictate who goes where. One can appeal, but CMPB has said these will be addressed on a "case-by-case basis" and reassignment is unlikely. So we all know where that will get you....

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