Left: SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholar Ashleigh Fernandez is currently in SSG as a Manager, Industry Development Division 1 (IDD1), ensuring that SSG's Continuing Education and Training offerings equip our workforce with the skills to remain employable and in-demand. She has a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Political Science from NUS.
Right: SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholar Esther Cha is currently in WSG as a Manager in the Data Analytics Division (DAD), synergising with external agencies to create data-driven solutions for WSG and the workforce. She has a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) in Political Science from NUS.
SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) offer a scholarship unlike any other.
SSG-WSG Scholars can experience the best of both worlds, as they will be rotated to postings in both agencies. It is the place where young visionaries put ideas into practice, in policy-making, training and education, and forecasting for Singapore's job market.
The most recent recipients of this prestigious joint scholarship are Ashleigh Fernandez and Esther Cha, both alumni of the NUS Political Science Programme, and who are both now utilising their educational backgrounds to help ensure Singaporeans' continuing employability.
Ashleigh is currently in SSG as a Manager, Industry Development Division 1 (IDD1), ensuring that SSG's Continuing Education and Training (CET) offerings equip our workforce with the skills to remain employable and in-demand.
But any policy should be backed by sufficient evidence and insightful forecasting. This is where Esther steps in as a Manager, Data Analytics Division (DAD) in WSG, synergising with external agencies to create data-driven solutions for WSG and the workforce.
We speak to the two scholars to find out more about how the SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholarships have helped them contribute towards improving people's lives.
Two Agencies, Twice the Opportunities
Ashleigh recalled shortlisting Public Service scholarships from various government agencies. When she learnt that under the SSG-WSG Scholarship, she would have the opportunity to work in two different sectors, she knew she had found the scholarship she wanted.
"I found the opportunity to work in both SSG and WSG challenging and meaningful," she explained. "This confirmed my aspiration to contribute towards making that difference."
Esther agreed, citing the unique two-agency, one scholarship approach of SSG-WSG as a big draw factor. "Not only does this allow me to understand different facets of the Public Service, it also gives me the chance to apply myself to different departments and divisions to glean different skill sets."
That is the value inherent in these agencies' missions. "SSG-WSG's mission for lifelong learning and a healthy and transformative workplace is, to me, a promising and important goal for an organisation to have."
Full Support for Scholars
Armed with SSG-WSG's extensive support, which includes full tuition coverage, hostel allowance, annual allowance, student exchange programmes, engagements with Senior Management and holiday internships, both scholars flourished in their studies while keeping abreast of the local employment situation.
After all, they were keenly aware that the purpose of this knowledge was its application in employment and skills upgrading policies and programmes.
Ashleigh offered an example: "At SSG, the knowledge and analytical skills from my study of Political Science allowed me to assess why there are pain-points facing the jobs and skills for certain sectors."
Similarly, Esther's work in the data analytics planning team requires the ability to turn data into words, narratives and a plan, where she draws on her skillsets gleaned in university to contemplate all aspects of the issue to produce thorough and methodical reports.
Real Change with SSG-WSG
Upon completion of their studies, they began their work at SSG and WSG to uplift the capabilities of the Singaporean workforce.
"Working with data shows us how to look into future trends to make informed predictions to assist people on the ground in relation to better employment practices and opportunities," said Esther.
"At SSG-WSG, we cultivate the right routes for better work environments, employment opportunities and educational opportunities. A lot of the work we are putting in now at SSG-WSG hopes to foster an enduring and long-lasting spirit of change in our workforce and Singaporeans."
Ashleigh's partnerships and industry-focused forward-planning role contextualises what jobs and being job-ready will look like.
For example, she was instrumental in implementing the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the Cleaning sector. Working with the Tripartite Cluster for Cleaning, SSG-WSG developed enhanced training guidelines that foster a productive workforce and the resultant wage increments.
"This was particularly meaningful as I saw how our work in the PWM translates to real, needful change for lower-wage cleaners who deserve greater recognition for the key services they provide in our communities," Ashleigh recalled.
This is the heart of the two agencies' work – supporting the local workforce to ensure they stay gainfully employed while remaining agile enough to adapt to new jobs.
SSG-WSG, the Place to Be
As these scholars show, the opportunity to work under two statutory boards to affect real change is a unique selling point of the SSG-WSG Scholarship.
Ashleigh agreed: "A key feature is the exposure to a broad spectrum of work via cross-agency and cross-divisional projects, as well as secondment opportunities. You may look forward to rotations between front-line and policy positions within SSG-WSG, and even postings to Ministries, Statutory Boards and Trade Associations and Chambers which collaborate closely with SSG and WSG."
"For someone considering opportunities in the public sector, and a career that is focused on bettering the lives of people around us, I would recommend the SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholarship as the perfect choice for you," Esther added.
"With its multitude of activities, and the collaborative synergy of two like-minded agencies, the experiences you will have will never be one-dimensional!"