OCBC team shares skills with youth mentors

Lim Si Hui used to shy away from public speaking, but workshops conducted last month by OCBC Bank's Learning and Development team have helped her to beat stage fright and stand in front of a crowd.

"Before, I used to tremble if I had to appear on a public platform. The sessions helped me to realise that I am capable of speaking up," said the 16-year-old.

The CHIJ Secondary School student was one of 16 youth mentors selected by youth drop-in centre Roundbox@Singapore Children's Society (SCS) to attend workshops conducted between June 10 and 24 by the OCBC Bank team.

The team is part of OCBC Bank Group's human resources division. This was its first voluntary workshop for youth mentors. The youth mentors, aged 12 to 18, attended the five sessions at the OCBC Campus in Tanjong Pagar, where they were taught communication skills and took part in activities to develop emotional resilience and brush up their leadership skills.

The leadership session included looking at posters of leaders, after which the students were advised to apply the values they saw in the leaders in their own lives.

Guangyang Secondary School student Joshua Ng, 15, who is dyslexic, said: "I learnt to come out of my comfort zone and try new things."

He felt the workshops helped him to develop the determination to work towards his goals - one of which is to join the Singapore Armed Forces.

Ms Yap Aye Wee, head of the OCBC Bank team, said: "We thought we would be teaching the kids, but instead, we have learnt more from them."

Ms Yap, 46, said the programme aims to give back to the community by sharing value-adding skills with the youth.

Urging other firms to embrace such initiatives, she said: "We hope to sustain this programme, based on SCS' feedback of the sessions and how it has helped the kids."

The workshops ended with a graduation ceremony for the youth mentors, where they were presented with certificates.

For Si Hui, the ceremony was a chance to show her new confidence at public speaking. She addressed both the OCBC Bank trainers and her peers in a speech.

Speaking about her experience, she said: "The sessions have taught me to always try new possibilities.

"I will definitely be passing on what I have learnt to others. If we all try hard enough, there is nothing we can't do."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 14, 2016, with the headline 'OCBC team shares skills with youth mentors'. Print Edition | Subscribe