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Developing Future Generations of Social Workers

Nancy Ng, Senior Lecturer, NSHD, SUSS

Meet Nancy Ng, senior lecturer at SUSS for the social work programme, and director of Professional Practice Development at the Ministry of Social & Family Development (MSF), who is motivated to develop future generations of social workers in Singapore. She helped set up the Bachelor of Social Work programme back in 2016. She shares her passion for social work and thoughts about inclusivity in this interview.

What do you hope your Social Work students would achieve when they graduate?

Social work is not a profession for the faint-hearted. It takes courage, commitment and tenacity. I see these traits in our students. So we worked on a curriculum that will prepare them to be more market-ready when they graduate, with the hope that they build up their skills, knowledge, and resilience. I'm motivated to be part of the team to develop the future generations of social workers in Singapore.

What is the one memorable initiative or project throughout your career as a social worker?

That would be one of my latest initiatives - the SPARK series, which started in 2017. It was created for professionals leaders (including social workers, counsellors, psychologists, therapists, administrators, medical personnel, educators) from the social service sector. It aims to groom them to become future change movers and passionate leaders who drive sustained changes in the social service sector.

The programme gathers participants from different backgrounds in the social service sector.  Through exposure to eminent speakers and world-class organisations, inclusivity is promoted as participants’ paradigms, and views are re-framed and broadened. The underlying philosophy is to break mental barriers and professional turfs.  This will build up cohorts of participants who then will become a community of SPARK leaders in the social service sector. We are currently into our fourth run for 2020, and there has been increased interest from social service practitioners.

How do you think inclusivity can be better promoted in Singapore's education landscape?

The education system could provide more opportunities and platforms for students to have a variety of experiences across different schools, cultures, and communities. This will provide more holistic development for our younger generation. Examples of such experiences could take the form of learning journeys, exchange programmes, community projects, and so on.

Many of our social work students have extraordinary portfolios of community involvement before they even joined our programme. Their experience reassures us that they have been actively participating in the betterment of our society.  

Inclusivity is a state that we will continue to strive towards in our society.  We must all see that it is our responsibility to reach out and to care for one another as a community. I believe that the students who graduate from our programme will be part of that effort and even take the lead to strive for a more inclusive society.

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