Back to top

Speech By Dr Yeo Guat Kwang At The Singapore University Of Social Sciences Convocation 2017

Speech By Dr Yeo Guat Kwang, Assistant Director-General, National Trades Union Congress, At The Singapore University Of Social Sciences Convocation 2017 On 12 October 2017, 2.30 p.m., The Grand Hall, Singapore University of Social Sciences

Professor Aline Wong, Chancellor, Singapore University of Social Sciences; 
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University of Social Sciences; 
Distinguished guests; 
Ladies and gentlemen. 

  1. ​The 2017 Convocation is the first under the new university name, Singapore University of Social Sciences (henceforth SUSS), and marks an important transition of SIM University (henceforth UniSIM) to sixth autonomous university (AU) in Singapore.
  2. As the sixth AU, SUSS will continue to help diversify Singapore’s higher education landscape and complement the existing five AUs by focusing on driving lifelong-learning anchored by applied education in the domain of the social sciences, as well as in disciplines that have a strong impact on human and community development.
  3. SUSS aims to offer a range of programmes that prepare individuals for careers in the social sector, such as social work and early childhood education, as well as careers with a strong social orientation, such as human resource management, and law with a focus on family and criminal law. The new name also embodies the University’s mission of providing educational opportunities to both students and adult learners.
  4. Since its inception in 2005, UniSIM’s close collaboration with various industries, employers, and the community, ensures that its graduates are well poised to be at the forefront of innovation and adaptability, while meeting the needs of Singapore for a future-ready workforce.
  5. In Singapore, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of our economy. They employ close to three-quarters of our workforce and contribute more than 50% of Singapore’s GDP. The unique emphasis of the SUSS education curriculum is especially important in helping Singapore elevate our SME sector. With the industry-based education, SUSS graduates are able to hit the ground running, helping our SMEs embark on their next phase of growth.
  6. Many of these home grown enterprises such as Q&M and Breadtalk have also expanded their success across the region, flying the Singapore flag high.
  7. However, despite their local and international success, many SMEs continue to face the challenge of attracting and retaining suitable talents. Understanding the challenges that SMEs face, the government had initiated several schemes to enhance the attractiveness of SMEs as employers. For example, the voluntary HR Director scheme aims to match experienced senior HR leaders from MNCs to help SMEs improve their hiring processes.
  8. As a graduate, it is important to consider what sort of environment you want to start your career in. Although some of you in the hall today are already in the workforce, I would highly encourage you to consider joining an SME. The SME environment is dynamic – you can enhance your knowledge in business, pick up practical skills, exercise creativity and innovation, and evenmake a real difference to the community. The diverse training you will undergo in an SME will also equip you with the acumen to join or start your own business, bringing the entrepreneurial spirit of Singaporeans to the forefront.
  9. A fresh graduate who works in an SME shared with me his reason for choosing to work at an SME, and I quote: "In a smaller organisation, individuals are valued and there is more scope to get involved in the whole business. You have greater opportunities to advance your role, and if you help the company achieve success, you will feel a greater sense of achievement and reap rewards."
  10. Being a student today is not easy - juggling between your academics, work, extra-curricular activities, and even giving back to the community or starting your own businesses. I believe most if not all of you have had uncertainties about yourself and your future. I had the same sentiment when I graduated many years ago. Then, Singapore’s economy was in severe recession. Looking back and recountinghow far the nation has come, I think, moving forward you would also feel the pressure and faceobstacle. My advice is to have independent thinking, remain proactive, and cultivate the practice of life-long learning. You are all proud graduates of SUSS, andI strongly believe that with hard work, tenacity, resilience and passion, you will achieve success.

  11. Be bold and embrace opportunities that might come your way. Continue to do well in your chosen path and chase the rainbow. The journey forward is both exciting and daunting. Keep your eyes on the horizon. On this note, I would like to congratulate all of you for being the pioneer cohort of students graduating under the new SUSS. I wish you all the best for your future endeavors!​​
Back to top