Singapore, 21 April 2020 – A group of Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) students are volunteering their time as Zoom mentors to conduct free 1-on-1 hands-on training sessions for financial practitioners. The first of these sessions will be conducted on Wednesday, April 22.
The participants are members of the Insurance and Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore (IFPAS), they represent various insurance companies and financial adviser firms in Singapore. The aim is to eventually educate about 1,000 financial practitioners. These members have already attended a basic Zoom workshop previously.
However, to enable these participants to pick up the skills fast and apply them safely, in line with SUSS’s “learn today, apply tomorrow” teaching methodology, they will have to give a product presentation to the student mentors, mimicking a real-life business meeting during these 1-on-1 training sessions. The aim is not only to enhance their proficiency in using online video training tools, but also highlight security best practices.
Although each of these 1-on-1 training sessions will only last for about 30 minutes, they provide a realistic environment for participants to get familiarised with the basic function of Zoom as well as its security features.
In the pipeline, SUSS and IFPAS aim to use the same approach to develop the capabilities of more trainers so that they can share their knowledge with more financial practitioners.
“SUSS has been running many courses online since our inception in 2005. And since the start of the year, we have moved more classes fully online using various software as teaching platforms, including Zoom. Most of our students are now very well-equipped with the knowledge of using Zoom. Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, some of our Business students expressed their interest to volunteer and help businesses pull through this difficult time and that’s how the conversation with IFPAS started. I am happy we’ll be doing our part for the community,” said SUSS President Prof Cheong Hee Kiat.
“Given the current circuit breaker period, financial practitioners like many other professions in Singapore, are moving their businesses online. IFPAS constantly finds ways to protect and improve the livelihood of the financial practitioners and the community we serve. So, when this idea was mooted to SUSS, we are privileged to have a ready-platform through the help of student volunteers from the School of Business at SUSS. We hope that our collaboration with SUSS to offer free Zoom training will enhance our members' efficiency in using Zoom to engage their clients as safely as possible and will give certainty that our members’ welfare is a top priority,” said IFPAS President Mr Leong Sow Hoe.
Dean, School of Business, Associate Prof Allan Chia, said, “We always tell our students that an education is about making better persons out of ordinary individuals. I’m very pleased that our students have this opportunity to contribute and give back in their own way to help our industry partners like IFPAS.”
“After discussing with IFPAS, we decided that the role-play approach for these 1-on-1 sessions is ideal. Their members get to apply what they learn in a realistic environment in the shortest time, while the students experience a sense of gratification as they are doing something really meaningful for the business community during this difficult time,” said Senior Lecturer Dr Jimmy Wong, the lecturer coordinating this initiative with IFPAS.
“Because of the COVID-19 situation, using Zoom has become a daily affair for SUSS classes. We even connect with friends and family with it. It is easy to use and can be quite fun too. So, when we hear that businesses may need some help to learn Zoom, we volunteered immediately. This is our way of giving back to the society during this tough period,” said Mr Lau Junsong Roy, a Year 2 Bachelor of Science in Marketing with Minor student.
The content of the course includes not only the basic application of Zoom such as the use of screen share and how to present better, but also emphasises the basic security precaution to make Zoom a safe online meeting tool for businesses and individuals. For example, participants are reminded to lock the meeting to keep strangers from intruding, avoid using chat functions to transfer files, enables “Waiting Room” when necessary, and regularly apply updates to their software.
Besides providing ZOOM training to IFPAS, below are some of the University’s initiatives in line with its mission to serve society during this challenging period:
1. SUSS Student Care Fund – SUSS has set up a Student Care Fund to help our students during this challenging period. SUSS students facing sudden or immediate financial hardship, arising from unexpected family and life situations can apply for contingency financial grant from SUSS.
2. Corporate Social Responsibility – SUSS is fundraising for AWWA Senior Community Home, which is operational during this period, with 134 seniors. The stressors faced by these beneficiaries include psycho-social factors, such as severe disruption of routines, shortage of food and medicine, separation from loved ones, social isolation and loss of income.
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About the Singapore University of Social Sciences
SUSS is a university with a rich heritage in providing lifelong, learner-centric and industry-relevant education. Our mission is to champion lifelong education to develop future thinkers and leaders to their fullest potential through our 3H’s education philosophy – ‘Head’ for professional competency with applied knowledge, ‘Heart’ for social awareness of the needs of the society, and ‘Habit’ for passion towards lifelong learning.
We offer more than 70 undergraduate and graduate programmes, available in full- and part-time study modes which are flexible, modular and multi-faceted in learning experience to cater to both fresh school leavers and adult learners. We also launched a broad range of continuing education and training modular courses for the professional skills and knowledge upgrading of our workforce.
Our programmes and courses are made available through our five schools:
- S R Nathan School of Human Development
- School of Business
- School of Humanities and Behavioural Sciences
- School of Law
- School of Science and Technology
To date, over 30,000 graduates have chosen SUSS as their university of choice. Each year, about 15,000 students are pursuing their full- and part-time studies with us.
From 1 April 2019, the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) became an autonomous institute of SUSS. Both entities enable a synergistic collaboration as IAL brings to SUSS its expertise and experience in adult learning and Continuing Education and Training (CET), while SUSS provides an ecosystem of resources and experts rooted in academic rigour.
For more information on SUSS, please visit www.suss.edu.sg.