T he SgIS is grounded in the philosophy that every scholar deserves opportunities to maximise their potential. Regardless of one’s industry of choice, the SgIS paves the way for young talents to develop into future strategists and visionary leaders in their chosen fields.
As a joint initiative between the Government and various private organisations that span 16 industries, the SgIS allows scholars to secure a meaningful career in their organisation of choice. Apart from providing job security, its comprehensive SgIS Scholars’ Development and Engagement Programme gives scholars the chance to develop professional competencies and skills through internship programmes, gain valuable industry insights at dialogue sessions, and form connections within the SgIS Scholars’ Network. These experiences prime scholars for an empowering and enriching career after graduation.
Two young recipients of the SgIS sit down with us to share about these key scholarship highlights. Currently undergraduates at Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), Hon Liang Yi and Chin Joo Ern regale us with some of the experiences they have had as scholars, and share how they wish to drive their future career.
Making a Difference
For Liang Yi, deciding on her sponsoring organisation from the list of SgIS sponsoring organisations was fuss-free. She narrowed her options down to organisations in the social services industry following her passion for the sector, and eventually chose to start a journey with the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).
Chin Joo Ern
SgIS Full-Term Scholar with SMRT Corporation Ltd
Engineering Product Development student at Singapore University of Technology and Design
She explains, “Back when I was pursuing Mass Communication at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, I had to give a presentation on social causes in Singapore. My friends and I pitched the idea of connecting volunteer groups, organisations and individuals together to form a big volunteering network. I later discovered that this was exactly what NVPC strives to do! This project made me realise that I want to use my skills for something meaningful, and a career with NVPC will allow me to do just that.”
On Joo Ern’s end, he chose SMRT as his sponsoring organisation because he was piqued by the prospect of shaping Singapore’s future transport landscape – an area that affects virtually the whole nation. “If I can improve the nation in my own way by contributing to an organisation, I don’t see any reason why I should stop myself,” Joo Ern tells us.
The SgIS Experience
Both Liang Yi and Joo Ern have been fortunate to have had their undergraduate journeys infused with unique experiences. Liang Yi’s internship at NVPC’s marketing arm, the Advocacy Department, exposed her to various marketing campaigns that she saw through from ideation to creation. “We sought ways to market Giving.sg, a one-stop portal that empowers Singaporeans to give back to society. As opposed to the case in advertising agencies, where it may take years for an idea to build up, NVPC allowed me to witness a campaign’s progression from start to end,” Liang Yi shares.
As for Joo Ern, he participated actively in the SgIS Orientation Camp and various SgIS Scholars’ Network activities. “The camp brought all the SgIS scholars together and allowed us to undergo what is similar to an Outdoor Bound Singapore (OBS) experience. It was a good time to interact with other scholars and find out about their decisions pertaining to their course of study and sponsoring organisation,” he shares.
Together with the network of SgIS scholars, Joo Ern also took part in a series of Community Involvement Programme (CIP) activities. “We worked with YMCA Singapore and Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home, an institute that provides shelter and care to healthy adults with disabilities, to fulfil a structured three-session programme called Y Movie Treats. This programme consisted of one simulated movie experience in the Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home, one private movie screening in the cinema, and eventually a mass movie outing in a public theatre. The main objective was to provide an opportunity for the beneficiaries to experience an outing to the public theatres to watch a movie and simultaneously serve as a platform to train their social skills. It was heartwarming to know that the elderly man I was paired with enjoyed himself thoroughly!” Joo Ern enthuses.
Hon Liang Yi
SgIS Full-Term Scholar with National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre
Social Science student at Singapore Management University
Bringing Their Experiences Forward
The duo is quick to make practical connections between their academic experiences and the working world. Liang Yi highlights that her time spent volunteering abroad has helped her view poverty and volunteerism in Singapore in a new light. She has been to community service trips to schools in Nepal and Poland, where she imparted basic business knowledge to students and helped to raise their cultural awareness.
In fact, she looks forward to another political science study mission to Guizhou, a rural province in China. This is where she will learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and explore its role in alleviating poverty. “In China, farmers use TCM primarily for its medicinal purpose. We are trying to see if there is a way for them to tap on it as a means to draw income,” Liang Yi tells us.
Of her experiences, she shares, “Every time I go overseas, I compare a country’s poverty levels with that of Singapore, and think about how my experiences relate to volunteerism in Singapore. I am confident that my experiences abroad will help me tackle future challenges in NVPC.”
As for Joo Ern, his learning journey to Kim Chuan Depot proved to be a fruitful one. He learnt about SMRT’s history and main assets, gleaned insights on how SMRT managed their train routes and had the rare opportunity to witness SMRT’s emergency response training. “The jump from a snapshot of the overview of the system, to the close-up experience of observing the technicians undergoing operations and training, reminded me of how complex a system of this scale can get, and the need to pay attention to every step along the way.” Joo Ern reflects. This invaluable experience, coupled with his upcoming Global Leadership Programme to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he will be tasked with engineering-related projects and meet with industry experts, will stand him in good stead for his engineering career.
He concludes humbly, “My experiences in university have taught me how to learn to work with people, how to tap on their ability and skillsets to accomplish a task, and built my technical knowledge considerably. These will definitely help me as I mount the steep learning curve at SMRT after graduation. I look forward to applying my knowledge in SMRT and helping to advance the nation’s transportation sector in the best way I can.”