The Singapore Education System is organised to prepare students for work and life-long learning. Nonetheless, teenagers could do with a little help from the community to think about careers that they may want to pursue.
During the school holidays, the Apprentice Collective a volunteer group invited our youth to Day X which offered 2-hour slots for participants to get a taste of 3 different professions through hands-on activities. There were more than 60 different professions to choose from and the 3 teens who attended chose to meet a pharmacist, a financial planner and a photo-journalist. Perhaps, they were attracted by how the pharmacist was using Lego bricks to represent the different ingredients in a drug. However, as he explained the level of school performance that qualified one to train as a pharmacist, their interest waned. Somehow, they were not too interested in the financial planner either even though they followed his calculations how small savings compounded over time led to a substantial amount. This was a little puzzling as money is something they could do with. When it came to the photo-journalist, they listened intently and asked many questions. Later, we got a sense from our teens that it could be an aspiration where they felt they had a realistic chance of achieving.
KSL Changemakers was another volunteer group that helped our youth explore career options but mainly in the maritime industry where Kuok Singapore Limited is invested in. To introduce themselves, parents and youth were invited to “Solo: A Star Wars Story.” This week, they took our youths on the Singapore Maritime Trail to introduce the rich maritime history of the country and how landmarks like the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, the Fullerton Hotel and Clifford Square were significant.
Our youths found it most interesting hearing how a 23-metre tall lookout at the Customs House kept smugglers at bay. They also had fun navigating a ship with a simulator. They were in good spirits, joked with their guide and taking in the information even though it looked like they were not taking things seriously. We know this to be true because they continued asking us how they may make a start in the maritime industry when they returned to our office.
We care about our youth because we care about our future. In our caring, we impart values, advice and discipline that we believe are essential for a positive future or at least a responsible life. Yet often, youth do not seem very motivated and we describe them as rebellious, lazy, lost or with other words that categorise them as people who only have themselves to blame for their lack of aspiration, poor choices or risky life-styles. Hence, we are deeply appreciative of volunteers like The Apprentice Collective and KSL Changemakers who focus on the potential in our youth rather than their problems.
Two days ago, we were rushing Suria to her examinations and while waiting for the cab, she told us that she had never expected anyone to be interested in her ambition and it certainly made her a lot more determined to succeed. A few minutes earlier, she had been having pizza with Mr Hiew Yoon Khong, Mr Wan Kwong Weng and Ms Heng Sue Yuan, who were the Group CEO, Head Group Corporate Services/General Counsel and VP Corporate Communications of Mapletree respectively. These senior executives were catching up with our youths who are receiving assistance with their educational expenses from the company and they had a satisfying conversation about family, personal interests and careers. At the end of the session, our youth felt good about themselves and with their dignity in place, they did not have a poverty of aspiration.
Enjoy your weekend.
“Love is our most basic human value and also our highest potential.” – ― Kamand Kojouri