Singapore

Programmes to help youth transition from school to workplace

Made up of two programmes, it targets those aged 17 to 21 and offers workshops, vocational training

To help disadvantaged youth transition smoothly from school into the work environment, a three-year initiative was launched yesterday at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to offer them workshops and vocational training.

It is made up of two programmes. The first, Youth Forte, is offered by Shine Children and Youth Services. It targets those aged 17 to 21 who are not in school or training and have problems finding work.

They will receive employability skills training, internships or project-based experience and vocational training, leading to Workforce Skills Qualification certification. The scheme aims to help the youth learn more about careers through exposure to the industry. They will also receive individual life coaching.

The second programme, called A.p.t.i.t.u.d.e, is offered by Touch Community Services in partnership with ITE.

It works with industry partners to provide students with structured training and certification for a particular job, such as coffee making or outdoor camp facilitation.

Called the Singapore Youth Impact Collective, these programmes come after the social service sector recognised that while education can help bridge social gaps, environmental factors - such as negative social influences or home environment - can hinder the youth from reaching their full potential.

Changi Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore (CFS), Credit Suisse, Octava Foundation, Shine and Touch are behind the initiatives.

To date, Changi Foundation, Credit Suisse and Octava Foundation have pledged close to $1 million towards the programmes.

CFS deputy chief executive Joyce Teo said the collaboration between the organisations will help to address the complex social issues of young people.

Last month, 17-year-old Natasha Chan, a first-year digital animation student from ITE College Central, learnt the art of coffee making over two days through the Touch programme.

She was trained by the Dutch Colony Coffee chain and is now thinking of becoming a barista.

"I learnt how to brew, grind and make a cup of coffee," she said.

"It is a skill I would not be able to pick up in my course. Learning this has widened my skills."

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