SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) has recruited 10 students from Republic Polytechnic for work attachments as cabin crew.

As part of a new initiative, the airline has also tied up with Temasek and Nanyang polytechnics to tap their students to meet its manpower needs.

Selected candidates will undergo a six-month internship during their final year, after which they will fly full-time.

The recent arrangement with the polytechnics is to ensure that SIA continues to attract "the best talent" and cater to operational needs, spokesman Nicholas Ionides said.

During the paid attachment, the students, who will be selected mainly from the schools' aviation and hospitality courses, will undergo the usual 15 weeks' training.

When ready to fly, they will be put on the roster like any other crew member.

The first batch of 10 students from Republic Poly will start their training later this year.

There is no fixed number for the annual intake, said Mr Ionides.

SIA has more than 7,500 cabin crew. Eight in 10 are recruited locally and the rest are from India, China and Japan, among other countries.

Unlike pilots, who usually stay till retirement, the turnover rate for contract-based cabin crew is much higher.

Despite facing an excess of pilots due to slower-than-anticipated growth, there is no surplus of cabin crew, who usually do not stay for more than 10 years.

SIA girls also have to give up their kebayas when they are pregnant.

As part of the agreements inked with the polytechnics, the parties will also consider other areas of cooperation, for example, in developing curricula related to service and operations, as well as safety and security.

Partnerships between educational institutions and aviation companies have become more popular in recent years, industry observers said.

Apart from its tie-up with SIA, Temasek Polytechnic also has students flying for low-cost carriers Tiger Airways and Scoot, SIA's long-haul budget arm, on work attachments.

Mr Paul Yap, who oversees the school's aviation programme, said that for Singapore's aviation sector to grow and compete effectively worldwide, it must build a strong core of local talent.

By providing work-attachment opportunities for students, they gain invaluable insight and experience, he noted. Airlines, as well as other aviation companies, also benefit from having a steady supply of staff, Mr Yap added.

Republic Poly students Susanne Yeow, 18, and Muhammad Ameer Hassaan Yazi, 23, who were selected from about 100 students for SIA's cabin crew internships, cannot wait to start.

Ms Yeow said: "It has always been my dream to join SIA - only SIA and not any other airline."

They are aware, though, that it is not just about glamour, said Mr Muhammad Ameer Hassaan.

"It's not an easy job, but as hospitality students, this is what we are trained for.

"I am looking forward to working for the first airline I ever flew on, as a five-year-old."