YSA's young leaders programme sees its first batch of graduates

 

"In recent years, we have seen how terror attacks, religious extremism and growing discontent have cause fractures within societies. Singapore is not immune to this. Beyond the traditional fault-line of race and religion, we face a growing risk of social rifts as our society becomes more diverse. Thus, it is crucial for us to come together often as a community, to create safe spaces for frank discussion and to initiate dialogues with other communities. I believe that, in this respect, young Singaporeans can step up and play an active role in building a more caring and cohesive society." Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth, expressed these sentiments at the Young Leaders Programme (YLP) graduation ceremony at NTUC Centre on 19 February 2017.

Organised by YSA, the three-month programme brought together 14 young Singaporeans who strongly believed in the ideology of service to empower their community and nation for the better.

Mr Malminderjit Singh, YSA's President, stated that the programme was launched to develop a pipeline of future leaders within a community so that the community would not be starved of leaders in the future. It is also important for them to make positive contributions at the national and international levels.

During the programme, the young Sikh leaders were involved in a range of activities and programmes. These included scenario planning exercises and discussions with Sikh community leaders, and government, civil society and industry representatives. At the same time, they had sessions on career talks, interview and presentation skills, global leadership and new media, among others. Beyond grooming these future Sikh leaders with professional skills, the programme aimed to enable them develop into confident, competent, compassionate and conscious leaders of the future generation.

Mr Amritpal Singh, a participant, stated, "The programme was extremely relevant to me. Apart from understanding community issues, the workshops and meetings with key individuals from the industry benefitted me professionally - I understood the value of a good resume and public presentation, as well as the importance of networking and connecting with others for mutual benefits. These are things that we, as young professionals, are not totally aware of."

As part of the programme, the young participants also had to identify three major challenges facing the Sikh community and propose possible solution to them. The first focused on the integration of Sikh ex-drug offenders and those in need of social welfare. The second was on youth empowerment aimed at motivating Sikh youths to excel in their area of interests and, the third on education with the aim of improving educational standards among Sikhs. During the graduation ceremony, the participants presented their findings on these issues.

Mr Baey emphasised the importance of peers working together to identify and address community projects, regardless of whether these issues were easy to resolve or not. As long as youths had a mutual understanding and are willing to cooperate with one another, he felt confident that these youths would improve the lives of fellow Singaporeans.

Another participant, Ms Rashvinpal Kaur Dhaliwal, opined that the programme had positively impacted her thought process and personal development. She stated that, "I am able to analyse issues more sophisticatedly and I am able to have a more holistic picture of developments and issues around me, and how I can make a contribution to addressing them."

Ms Alisha Gill, an YSA Executive Committee member, who helped put the programme together, saw value in the tangible outcomes of the programme. She stated, "The issues the participants identified and the solutions they offered have created the opportunity for them be involved in Sikh institutions and to work with these institutions to address these issues. They are passionate about these issues - the Sikh institutions would benefit from their contributions."

Mr Baey commended the Sikh community for launching this ground-up initiative to groom future leaders so that they would be role models for all Sikh youths and external stakeholders. He added that these young participants and other youths could also look at volunteering with organisations outside the community, for example, Youth Corps Singapore, which provides support for young Singaporeans from all walks keen to promote causes within the community or on a national level.

The YLP was supported by 'Our Singapore Fund' through the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the National Integration Fund.

The second edition of the programme will take place in the middle of this year. For details, please contact YSA at enquiry@ysas.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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