Since its first run in 2018, the annual Industry Mentorship Programme (IMP) has benefitted more than 360 SITizens.
For many young adults, the start of their careers marks an exciting new phase of life. Yet at the same time, the workforce can seem like a hazy labyrinth of options and uncertainties.
How will they add value to the job? Will they enjoy what they do? How can they chart a successful career path?
For over 360 SIT students – mostly from Engineering programmes – these questions and more were addressed through the Industry Mentorship Programme (IMP). Through pairing them with industry mentors for five months, the IMP provided students with much-needed career advice and broadened their perspectives on life.
As a result of the programme’s success, SIT clinched the Empower Awards for Best Career Development Programme. The inaugural Empower Awards was organised by the People and Career Development Association (PCDA) and career service provider Avid Adventures to honour individuals and organisations that help build a more sustainable and progressive workforce.
Shaping Dreams and Aspirations
The IMP initiative was jointly launched by SIT’s Centre for Career Readiness and Young NTUC in 2018. In this partnership, SIT and Young NTUC work together to curate mentorship opportunities and leverage Young NTUC’s vast database of industry contacts to recruit mentors.
Each student is matched to a preferred industry mentor, ranging from line managers and engineers to members of senior management from large multinationals and small-and-medium enterprises, for the five-month-long IMP every year.
“As a relatively young university offering new Engineering degree programmes back in 2018, SIT recognised the need to give students a head start in their career preparation, and one approach was for industry practitioners to mentor the students,” said Mr Benjamin Tay, Deputy Director, Centre for Career Readiness, SIT.
On top of monthly meet-ups, some students are invited to visit their mentor at the workplace to gain insights into their jobs. Some of them have even scored internship positions after the programme or forged lasting friendships with their mentors.
Winning Praise All-round
After five successful runs of the IMP, clinching the Empower Awards is a nod to the programme’s effectiveness in broadening students’ aspirations and career opportunities.
“We are glad that the impact of the IMP was recognised this way. We hope the IMP, along with other career-readiness programmes put in place in SIT, will continue to prepare our students well for their careers,” said Mr Tay.
Ms Wendy Tan, Head of Youth Development at Young NTUC, concurred, “It is an affirmation that we are heading towards the right direction to have a robust mentorship programme and framework that is living up to its purpose of assisting youths in their career path navigation and alleviating their anxieties arising from wanting to start right in their foray into the workforce."
The inaugural Empower Awards ceremony was held on 10 December 2022 at the Somerset Youth Park. Professor Hoon Hian Teck (right), Singapore Management University, Guest-of-Honour of the event, presented the award for Best Career Development Programme to Mr Benjamin Tay (centre), Deputy Director, Centre for Career Readiness at SIT, and Ms Wendy Tan (left), Head of Youth Development at Young NTUC. (Photo: Benjamin Tay)
Other outstanding career practitioners, mentors and companies were also honoured for contributing to a more sustainable and progressive workforce. (Photo: Benjamin Tay)
Growing through Mentorship
While the Empower Awards was a feather in the cap, what remained most heartening for Mr Tay are the glowing reviews that mentors and mentees have shared at the programme’s concluding Appreciation Night each year.
“While mentors are happy to be able to make an impact and understand the aspirations of undergrads, participating students benefitted from their mentors’ work experience and insights into the industry. They also received guidance in career planning and saw growth in themselves,” said Mr Tay.
“My mentor shared his journey from being a sales engineer to a sales director. After the programme, I’m now keeping an open mind on the roles I might take up in future,” said Ms Effia Tay, a third-year Chemical Engineering student.
Third-year Chemical Engineering student, Effia Tay (right) with her mentor, Jason Khor (left), Sales Director (Asia) of Jacobi Carbons, whom she also values as a friend. (Photo: Effia Tay)
With mentorship widely hailed as an integral part of personal and professional development, there is a cause for SIT and Young NTUC to continue expanding the reach of the IMP.
“To support as many youths as possible, a useful resource like mentorship should be made accessible to as many as possible. The structured programme we have with SIT can be scaled up with more industry partners on board, who can share some of the challenges they face and how to overcome them,” said Ms Tan.
While the IMP started with just 19 students in 2018, the 2023 run will see more than 120 students and 90 mentors in the programme, shared Mr Tay. This year, students from non-engineering degree programmes – Food Technology and Digital Supply Chain – have also been invited to participate.
Now deep in preparations and planning for the upcoming IMP run which will kick-start recruitment in October 2023, Mr Tay quipped with pride, “We look forward to another year of strong support and participation for the IMP.”
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