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Impact 0530: Making work exposure more accessible to youth

Ding Xuan · 13 April 2022
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Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.

Ding Xuan, 17, is currently a student pursuing her tertiary education at Hwa Chong Institution. She recently participated in Season 3 of the YAC where she contributed in every way that she possibly could – from ideation to external communications. 

Her project, Reimagining Education, aims to bridge the gap between the current academic curriculum and the future workplace. She hopes her greatest impact is on the community, that in deed and in truth she’s given back to many others. Today, she shares more about her YAC project!

What was your role within your YAC project?

I served alongside my groupmates to brainstorm and innovate ideas that fuel our solution proposal. To be honest, within our team, our roles are ever-changing and that includes mine. In other words, it depends on the current needs of the project, which have included needing to initiate contact with a wide range of corporations, conducting ground interviews, writing proposals, pitch script-writing, and researching for our budgetary requirements. I always do what I can to contribute in a tangible way so that our team can fulfill our deadlines and ensure that our work is done well.

What motivated you to join YAC?

“Be the change you want to see in the world”. Mahatma Gandhi’s words have always resonated with me. While I am grateful for the myriad of successes Singapore enjoys, I also often find myself acutely aware of the pains and challenges that persist nonetheless. Beyond just being passively conscious of the challenges that Singaporeans face, I am passionate about making a difference and innovating solutions that can benefit all. This served as the main motivation to choose YAC. I am thankful for the governmental and organisational support in the form of a structured framework in YAC, and I am therefore determined to make good use of this to materialise ideas and turn them into reality.

Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?

In two words: meaningful and fulfilling. The reason why we have not a shred of post-YAC regret is that we gained incredibly much from YAC – the numerous mentors and advice we gained along the way, the presentations and webinars that gave us a glimpse into entrepreneurship, as well as the freedom and fun we enjoyed in creating a unique and sound idea that belonged to us. This meant the world to me and formed the basis of my beautiful experience with the YAC project.

What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?

Admittedly, YAC for my group mates and I was without a doubt tiring. We are all college students with many commitments outside of YAC. Therefore, a shortage of time and overall fatigue were direct consequences of this. Nonetheless, I believe it is imperative to note that these challenges were of negligible significance because ultimately, we found time for YAC and it was time well spent. We have valuable takeaways from YAC and it was definitely an experience we did not regret, not even for a second.

Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?

The problem we seek to solve is one that is deeply relatable to us, as well as one we believe requires urgent attention. With two in five youths uncertain about their career path and a lack of internship opportunities for junior college (JC) students, in particular, we believe our project can greatly benefit the youth community. 

By bridging the gap between the current academic curriculum and the future workplace by allowing them to explore potential career directions and expand their skill portfolio, our project will inculcate a wide skill set within our audience and therefore better prepare themselves for the 21st century global workspace.

Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?

I learnt how to start off social projects by identifying the sources of community pains, working through budgets with foresight, and pitching ideas to stakeholders effectively. I recognise that these skill sets and knowledge are deeply useful for those passionate about community service and making a difference. Through networking with various experienced seniors and mentors, I also learnt from their experiences and viewpoints, as well as drew lessons from both successes and failures. Lastly, I am moved by the generosity demonstrated by every single person I’ve met via YAC. The passion and kindness displayed is inspiring and something I will definitely remember.

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