In Conversation with PA
If you have a strong sense of community and love to be involved in all aspects of society, then the People’s Association (PA) Scholarship is tailor-made for you! Let’s hear from the Group Director of People Cluster in PA on how you can shape the social landscape of Singapore and bring communities together as a PA Scholar.
What vision do you have for PA?
PA’s vision for the community is: a great home and a caring community, where we share our values, pursue our passions, fulfil our hopes and treasure our memories. This vision was co-created by the PA Board of Management and community leaders together with PA staff. As a Singaporean who grew up here, this vision resonates with my desire to build a community where residents feel a strong sense of belonging and pride, and neighbours know and care for one another.
What challenges do a new generation of youth leaders face in the years ahead?
With the changing youth landscape and higher expectations from the residents, there is a need for leaders to connect with the youths and inculcate a sense of ownership and belonging among them. With the evolution of the social media, youths are exposed to a wider range of information. It will be challenging to engage them in national and community affairs and take ownership in building a resilient and caring community.
How did the PA Scholarship come about?
The PA values the development of our people. It is committed to developing and grooming its talents for management leadership, and considers both external and internal candidates for management positions while balancing the career development and progression of in-service staff. This undergraduate scholarship will offer talented and passionate youth the opportunity to make a difference to the community through the PA while pursuing their studies.
Tell us about the unique opportunities incoming PA Scholars can look forward to.
The scholarship programme hopes to attract those who are passionate about community and social development. They can choose one or more areas that they are passionate about in PA, from youth development, active ageing, community sports, arts and culture, to community service and leadership. There will also be overseas attachment opportunities to expose scholars to the different facets of community development in other countries. In PA itself, scholars will find that they play a role in shaping the local community through strategic planning for the constituencies, and designing and implementing community programmes.
Besides that, scholars will be able to build up experience in community organising and leadership through community projects, regular engagement with community leaders and PA senior executives, and job placements in various strategic divisions. They will work with people at ground level, as well as policy and decision makers. Through this scholarship programme, we hope to build leaders who are well-grounded and connected to the heart of the community.
What possible career paths can scholars look forward to in PA?
We offer a career with a difference, one that is both meaningful and enriching to youth who are passionate about the community. They will start their career with the Constituency Office for ground experience and to learn the general management perspectives of PA through job rotations and leadership developmental programmes. They will be able to tackle policy development better with this experience under their belt.
Our scholars will be mentored by senior officers who will support them on career and leadership development. They will participate in or lead PA strategic projects. Scholars may also be seconded to other public agencies. Such diverse leadership development opportunities will help them develop both their personal and professional leadership in community development to take on strategic roles in PA.
Apart from the requisite academic qualifications, what qualities should scholars possess?
They must have leadership qualities displayed through active participation in Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) and/or community or volunteer service, especially in leadership positions. Most importantly, they must enjoy working with people.
Which universities can scholars pick?
The undergraduate scholarships are applicable to courses at renowned overseas universities and the five local universities, namely National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Management University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and Singapore Institute of Technology.