Students at two universities in Singapore will receive more career guidance from their early days of undergraduate degree programme, under an affiliation with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).
The new career programme is set to be compulsory for all freshman at the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). First-year undergraudates are required to take part in the NTUC youth wing’s programme, which includes career mentorship and coaching.
Coming from social services, banking and healthcare, NTUC’s volunteer career guides will enable SUSS students to meet different industry partners at every quarter.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will pilot the NTUC’s Youth Career Network programme for its engineering undergraduates from the early days at school, as well as including other undergraduates “in due course”.
The two universities and NTUC’s youth wing, which inked an official agreement yesterday (Aug 22), said that they aim to recruit and train over 60 career guides and help a total of 500 students within a year.
NTUC secretary-general Chan Chun Sing stated that, “(On) this year’s May Day, we shared with the Labour Movement that we intend to go into the institutes of higher learning — the three Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs), six universities and five polytechnics — because we want to make sure that the next generation of workers start by having the correct counselling, having the correct access to career coaches, so that they have a very clear idea of the career that they want to go into, the kind of skillsets that they want.”
Young NTUC executive secretary Desmond Choo added that the tie-up with SIT could help students to choose engineering as a career, since “a lot of engineering students do not go on to become engineers”.
“It’s at its infancy, but we hope to learn from this partnership how we can best retain engineering talent from school all the way into the workplace,” he said.
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Students and graduates from SUSS and SIT welcomed the new initiative with wishful expectation.
Ms Joanne Teh, 23, a recent offshore engineering graduate from SIT, commented, “I see the importance of it (since internship is not compulsory at SIT).” Ms Teh said that upon her graduation, she had to seek networking opportunities herself when she was a student. And now, she is currently a self-employed investor as she could not find a job relevant to her degree.
SUSS marketing undergraduate Nur Sabrina, 21, said career guidance would be helpful, Today Online reports.
Ms Sabrina took a gap year last year and underwent internships in three different industries — design, advertising and marketing — in an effort to find out the most suitable job for her. “I was wandering for a while before I found out what I wanted to do,” said the mass communication diploma holder.
Her coursemate Natalie Cheong, 19, said: “The working industry is a very unknown field to me. As a student all my life, I don’t really have any connections. (Without this,) I think I will be struggling quite a bit … My best options would be the Internet, or LinkedIn.”
NTUC’s Youth Career Network’s discovery and mentorship programmes had started in September last year. Since then, more than 700 participants have benefited from the coaching of 100 over volunteer career guides, which mainly operates through roadshows and school networks.
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