On 22 August 2017, Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Young NTUC (YNTUC) – the youth wing of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) – to offer Youth Career Network (YCN) programmes to SUSS undergraduates.
YCN is a support network consisting of quality volunteer career coaches and mentors with relevant industry experience, who guide and engage students deeply in a peer-to-peer mentoring system to better prepare them for the future workplace. The YCN programme will provide the students with career guides from different industries such as the social services, banking and healthcare, and the participants will have the opportunity to interact with different industry partners each quarter. SUSS students will have access to NTUC's full suite of career preparation programmes – customised to meet the students' needs – which include Career Discovery & Mentorship; Career Coaching; Learning Journeys; and Skills Workshop.
With this partnership, SUSS students will be armed with real-time industry information and guidance which they need to navigate and succeed in the workplace, thus giving them a head start in having clearer idea career plans and being better prepared to build successful careers in a fast-evolving economy. Recognising the benefits of the YCN programme, SUSS has made it a compulsory component for its first-year undergraduates in its eight full-time degree programmes.
Minister Chan Chun Sing, Secretary General of NTUC, was the Guest-of-Honour at the MOU signing ceremony held at NTUC Centre. NTUC also signed a similar MOU with the Singapore Institute of Technology, with the pilot roll-out of the YCN programmes adapted for its engineering students.
Minister Chan, together with Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of SUSS; and Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President of SIT, witnessed the signing by Mr Desmond Choo, Executive Secretary of Young NTUC; Dr Yap Meen Sheng, Director of UC at SUSS; and Mdm Yeo May Fung, Director of Career Services at SIT. Also present at the ceremony as witness signatories were Mr Patrick Tay, Assistant Secretary General of NTUC; Professor Tsui Kai Chong, Provost of SUSS; and Associate Professor Ivan Lee, Vice President (Industry & Community) at SIT.
Dr Yap said: “To be career ready, graduates must be affirmed of their strengths and inclinations and know what opportunities are open to them. They also need soft skills and the right attitude that employers are looking for, such as strong work ethics. We have career specialists at SUSS who are seasoned industry practitioners to prepare our students to be able to hit the ground running. This partnership with NTUC Youth Career Network will enhance both NTUC's and SUSS's efforts to provide our youths with pragmatic knowledge and soft skills to succeed in their careers and make a positive impact on their organisations and society.”
Since the start of the YCN pilot last year, the programme has benefited many in-school youths and has given young professionals a platform to pay it forward. SUSS alumna Ms Rossana Chen is a healthcare administrator, mentor and career guide in YCN. Having excelled and forged ahead in her career with the guidance, support and encouragement extended to her by her mentor, she hopes to be a catalyst in someone else's career such as her mentee, Mr Han Quan, who is now also in the healthcare sector after gaining insights into the industry from her.
The signatories and witnesses of the MOU signing (from left): Associate Professor Ivan Lee, Professor Tan Thiam Soon, Mdm Yeo May Fung, Mr Desmond Choo, Minister Chan Chun Sing, Dr Yap Meen Sheng, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, Mr Patrick Tay, and Professor Tsui Kai Chong.