Increasing Emphasis in Learning Outside of School
Surveyee, Mr Christian Paolo Garaga, a 2nd year Electronics & Computer Engineering student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, recently participated in the JOS Innovation Awards 2016-17—a competition for polytechnic and university students to brainstorm ideas through using technology to solve modern problems. He says: “I would sacrifice my study time for such opportunities. With the changing landscape of the workforce, getting these skills are more important than just learning through the books. Skills taught outside of school is more valuable these days.”
Fellow competitor Mr Gerrah Lei, a 3rd year Civil Engineering student at Singapore Polytechnic echoes: “I won’t call it a sacrifice because it is an investment into the kind of life I want to live in the future.”
Mr Looi Qin En, co-founder and COO of Glints, who himself dropped out of Stanford University to pursue his startup, says, “Times have changed and relying on the school alone for career preparation is no longer enough. We are seeing an increasing number of youths who proactively pursue opportunities outside of their schools to prepare themselves for their careers. Being industry ready is not just about resume and interview preparation workshops, but having real experiences through internships, competitions, and projects. This is the new norm.”
The Private Sector’s Response
Many companies in the private sector are also changing the way they recruit young talents by offering more skills development opportunities to engage the millennials. “We are seeing a shift of mindset from traditional companies who used to hire graduates directly. These companies are beginning to create opportunities for students to develop and showcase their skills, while using these opportunities as avenues for talent attraction and employer branding,” says Mr Looi. “One of these companies is JOS—a company with over 60 years of history. They realised that hiring ‘ready-made’ talents is no longer feasible, and it is important to harness the potential in the millennials for their future workforce.”
JOS organised the inaugural JOS Innovation Awards 2016-17 in Singapore. “We started the JOS Innovation Awards with the belief that the market has talents,” says Ms Carmen Chan, Senior Manager, Group Human Resources, JTH Group (JOS’s management group). Inspired by the first successful run in Hong Kong in 2015, the Awards was launched in Singapore in September 2016. “We received an overwhelming response from the polytechnic and university population. Initially setting an ambitious target of receiving 50 submissions, we ended up receiving over 80 submissions with representation from all five polytechnics, all five public universities, and various private tertiary institutions,” says Ms Chan.
“We are heartened that students are willing to invest their time beyond school to participate in the JOS Innovation Awards 2016-17. Over the past five months, together with my management team, we have mentored these students and observed that they have an insatiable hunger for new knowledge, opportunities, and skill that will prepare them for the future workforce. Through this Awards, we are confident that students will walk away with stronger innovation, communication, and problem-solving skills, which are valuable regardless of the career path they may choose to embark on upon graduation,” says Mr Freddy Lee, Managing Director, Southeast Asia, JOS.