New initiatives to guide NSFs on career and education

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14 Aug 2019 | COMMUNITY

New initiatives to guide NSFs on career and education

// Report by Benita Teo

// Photos by Chai Sian Liang

English 华文

A workshop to provide guidance for Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) on employment and education choices after National Service (NS); and a digital “Career Starter Pack" to equip them with tools and resources for job-hunting.

These are some of the SkillsFuture@NS improvements that NSFs in can look forward to at the Enhanced Career and Education Fair (ECEF).

Held every quarter, the fair seeks to provide resources and information to help NSFs – in the last three to six months of their NS – in shaping their future after they have reached their Operationally Ready Date (ORD).

The SkillsFuture@NS initiatives were introduced by the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) at this year's Committee of Supply Debate, as part of the ministries' continuous efforts to recognise NSFs for their contributions to defence.

More than 4,000 NSFs from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and Home Team attended the ECEF at the Suntec City Convention Centre on 14 Aug.

They were the first to experience the newly introduced initiatives, such as the SkillsFuture Advice Workshop. During the hour-long workshop, attendees will work with facilitators from SkillsFuture Singapore, People's Association and the Employment and Employability Institute to reflect on their NS experience, the skills and competencies they have acquired, and how to make use of them in their future education and career journeys.

The workshop was well-received by NSFs like 3rd Sergeant (3SG) Muhammad Ashraf Bin Mohamad Jaffar. The 20-year-old is a Military Police (MP) in the SAF MP Command and will complete his NS on 1 Nov.

The aspiring entrepreneur enjoyed doing case studies on other local entrepreneurs like founder of programming school Upcode Academy Lee Zhi Ping, who chose to forgo a degree in favour of working in a start-up.

“It resonated with me because, like him, I also have ideas to work in my own start-up company," said the 20-year-old, who felt more confident after attending the workshop. “If he made it, why can't I?"

The alumnus of Raffles Institution, who will be studying Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore next year, also found the personal reflections useful in reminding him of the skills he had learnt during NS which he can bring to the table in his career: “My NS role taught me a lot of soft skills in dealing with different types of people, and I read that that's what employers are looking for now. The workshop allowed me to recognise my strengths and how I can make use of them in the workforce."

Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How, who also visited the ECEF, highlighted that the SkillsFuture@NS enhancements were reflective of the changes and requirements of the ever-evolving economy.

“The skills needed in the economy of today and tomorrow (are) constantly changing. This is a never-ending journey, but it is also a commitment, on the part of MINDEF and the SAF, to constantly review what would be relevant and work alongside our partners – educational institutions as well as employers – to bring the latest, best and most relevant information to our NSFs."

The special Career Starter Pack for NSFs was also launched on the same day. Created in collaboration with Workforce Singapore, the digital resource guide is tailored for NSFs looking to enter the workforce after NS. It will include tips on resume writing and acing interviews, and how to make use of the relevant skills they picked up in NS.

Another SkillsFuture@NS initiative introduced at the fair is the segregation of key economic sectors into thematic zones such as engineering, infocomm technology and logistics. This will allow the attendees to zero in on their fields of interest and learn more from industry practitioners.

“Some of the NSFs who are interested in the IT sector don't have an idea of what's ahead, so we give them a brief preview of what to expect when joining the company," said Mr Dylan Sng, 25, a Global Technology Associate at CrimsonLogic. The tech solutions company was one of the exhibitors at the fair.

In addition to offering guidance on the pathways that interested NSFs can take to enter the infocomm tech industry, Mr Sng encouraged them to make their first steps early: “For those who have experience in computing, they can actually apply before entering university to gain exposure. Exposure is a very important aspect in the IT-related sector. It gives you a competitive edge."

The is the fourth year that MINDEF and MHA are organising the ECEF. This year, about 57 exhibitors from Singapore's key economic sectors and 14 Institutes of Higher Learning were present to provide the visitors with information on industry requirements.

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