Left: Aye Aye Mon, SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholar, has just finished her Bachelor of Social Sciences in Communications and New Media. She handles internal staff engagement, secretariat work, research planning and event management as a Manager in the Strategic Planning Division.
Right: SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholar Hoon Ding Yu has a Bachelor of Engineering (Industrial & Systems Engineering). He works as a Manager in the Transformation Support Group, where he refines and adopts new solutions for business deliverables, provides proof of concept to bridge gaps in operation and delivery, strengthens innovation mindsets and facilitates discussions for WSG’s Data Strategy.
"T wo roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” Thus goes Robert Frost’s famous poem about the choices we make in life.
But when it comes to some scholarship decisions, there is no need to live by such rules. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and Workforce Singapore (WSG) cooperatively offer the SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholarship. The scholarship, opened to Singaporeans and PRs, provides avenues and opportunities for scholars to develop in both agencies.
While SSG focuses on lifelong learning and skills mastery, WSG ensures that the local workforce stays prepared for ongoing economic changes.
We met with SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholars, Hoon Ding Yu and Aye Aye Mon. Both have four major areas of responsibility under their belts, but their portfolios are very different.
Ding Yu from the Transformation Support Group, refines and adopts new solutions for business deliverables, provides proof of concept to bridge gaps in operation and delivery, strengthens innovation mindsets and facilitates discussions for WSG’s Data Strategy.
Aye Mon through her work with the Strategic Planning Division, handles internal staff engagement, secretariat work, research planning and event management.
As we listened, their accounts painted a single, unwavering truth – the possibilities at the two agencies are immeasurable.
Firstly, why did both of you apply for the SSG-WSG Scholarship?
Ding Yu: Like many others, I did not know much about SSG-WSG when I first applied. After reading and understanding more, the two agencies really stood out for me as they journey with Singaporeans across all walks of life both in terms of lifelong learning and employability, and I decided I wanted to make a career with them.
Aye Mon: I feel that working is a major part of life. So, to contribute towards helping people in their journey of lifelong learning and skills mastery is a mission that resonated with me. I also felt that more could be done to encourage people to embrace lifelong learning. Hence, I eventually shortlisted the SSG-WSG Joint Undergraduate Scholarship.
Ding Yu, you majored in Engineering, and Aye Mon, you recently graduated with a degree in Social Sciences. How did you get interested in your respective fields?
Ding Yu: In Junior College, my interest in physics blossomed, and the most direct application of physics is engineering. However, I didn’t want to go too deep into any specialised area, therefore I settled on systems engineering which is applicable across many industries. My current work with the Transformation Support Group (TSG) looks at processes and systems, and hence is directly related to what I studied.
Aye Mon: As a Communications and New Media major, I hope to use communication as a tool to create positive change. To do so, I joined the public sector, and in particular, I chose an agency whose mission is bettering employment opportunities through upskilling and training. The opportunity to be part of this mission spurred my interest in the scholarship.
How did you apply what you have learnt to your current work?
Ding Yu: As a system engineer, I learnt about how processes and systems work. In practice, this is pretty similar to my role in TSG which often involves understanding processes and improving them. However, the real application of what I studied involves adding other soft skills such as presentation skills and team work. These skills, which I pick up in my daily work, allow me to complete my many projects.
Aye Mon: You will find that the soft skills picked up in university come in handy to help you take on completely new challenges in the workplace. The role I am currently in is rather different from my course of study at university and honestly at the very beginning, I felt daunted about starting my new job.
However, I realised that with an adaptable and open mind towards learning new things, skills are essentially transferable across various roles. Staying informed by proactively seeking out resources also helped a lot.
What is it like working at SSG-WSG?
Ding Yu: Everyone here is friendly and very welcoming. When I first came in, I was in a two-man team with my group director and I was worried about being alone. But throughout the journey, many colleagues have gone out of the way to ‘adopt’ me.
This open environment translates to the work as well, where colleagues across different divisions are willing to share ideas and collaborate on different projects.
SSG-WSG has a dress-down culture, where you can even wear jeans and sneakers to work if you don’t have formal meetings!
Aye Mon: In a word, open. You will find it easy to spark spontaneous conversations with your Reporting Officer (RO) and colleagues, due to this pervasive culture of openness where people are receptive to feedback.
There is generally a good balance of work and play as you will see events happening every other month. I try to join whenever I can, as it is a great chance to meet new people and build rapport with your teammates. Of course, we work as hard as we play: my colleagues always go the extra mile to deliver in their roles. Overall, it is a vibrant organisation.
What possibilities are there for scholars working at SSG-WSG?
Ding Yu: A unique fact about the SSG-WSG scholarship is that you get to join both organisations to experience different cultures. WSG also works with different programme partners, so scholars can be rotated to those partners as part of the learning experience.
In WSG, there are numerous committees or workgroups that stretch across the organisation. Scholars are presented with multiple opportunities and also get to work closely with senior management beyond the day-to-day work.
Aye Mon: SSG has a holistic talent development programme that exposes you to various types of roles. You will be designated roles based on close discussions with Human Resource regarding your interests, as well as the opportunities that the roles might offer to help you build up your capabilities in diverse areas.
Beyond rotating within the organisation, you could also choose to be posted to a separate agency or the private sector to broaden your horizon. There are also mentorship programmes, and plenty of opportunities to take up courses to expand your knowledge.
At SSG, we are an organisation promoting lifelong learning and skills mastery and we certainly walk the talk!
What advice would you give to aspiring scholars looking to join SSG-WSG?
Ding Yu: I don’t think that the advice is specific to SSG-WSG but prior to my first day of work, my Reporting Officer (RO) told me to bring along a thinking cap and a thick skin. This advice is useful for any officer in WSG, especially for those in public-facing divisions.
Aye Mon: Know your strengths and weaknesses, be confident with who you are, and be true to yourself. Take time to ponder if the purpose of the organisation resonates with you and be open to take on new challenges.