Chance for youth to tackle real-life issues

New programme aims to help the young develop innovative solutions to problems

Campfire programme participants include (from left) full-time national serviceman Abdul Radhi, 21; Ngee Ann Polytechnic mass communication graduate Mabel Lee Si Yi, 20; NTU first-year communications student Debra Soh, 20; and artificial intelligence
Campfire programme participants include (from left) full-time national serviceman Abdul Radhi, 21; Ngee Ann Polytechnic mass communication graduate Mabel Lee Si Yi, 20; NTU first-year communications student Debra Soh, 20; and artificial intelligence developer and social entrepreneur Petrina Gomez, 28. ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

Youth with a passion for entrepreneurship and desire to tackle problems in the community will be able to attend a free six-week intensive programme where they learn to develop solutions to real-life problems with guidance from industry experts.

The Campfire programme targets youth aged 18 to 35 who are keen on entrepreneurship, design innovation, social enterprise, volunteerism and creative storytelling.

The programme, which can take up to 50 participants at a time, is a partnership by the National Youth Council, *Scape and innovation agency Tribal Worldwide Singapore.

It was launched at *Scape yesterday, with the first batch of more than 40 participants.

Founded by Tribal's head of film and social content Josiah Ng and creative group head Boston Ho, the Campfire programme aims to create more opportunities to support youth in the areas of jobs and skills, and engage them on social issues.

National Youth Council chief executive officer David Chua said at the launch: "Young people want real-world relevance and impact... (They) like to learn through exposure; they want to go into zones of discomfort and exploration.

"And in the process, they are also looking for mentors and coaches, people in the domain who can speak and counsel and give wise words of advice."

The programme has a strong private sector focus to give the youth a taste of real-world experiences, as the sector has the expertise and a real understanding of business problems and issues out there, added Mr Chua.

The first two weeks of the programme consist of lectures conducted by Tribal's department heads from Monday to Friday. The lectures will be a mix of physical sessions at *Scape and online sessions.

After the two weeks, participants will receive problem statements and have to work in teams with assigned mentors to develop and refine their solutions for a final pitch. The issues and themes are on the environment and sustainability, mental well-being, jobs and the future of work, and support for vulnerable groups.

There will also be six mentorship sessions twice a week, with advisers from Tribal as well as two external industry professionals.

These advisers include Mr Alvin Yapp, co-founder of social enterprise The Social Kitchen; Mr Jimmy Poh, co-founder of activewear start-up Kydra; Ms Pamela Chng, founder of social business The Bettr Group; and consultancy Afterglow Concepts director Carmen Low.

The last week of the programme will include a day when participants present their proposals to clients from Tribal's network.

Participants will receive a certificate of completion.

A second round of the programme will start in September and applications open in July. Singaporeans and permanent residents who are keen can submit an application online at campfire.sg

Mr Abdul Radhi, 21, a full-time national serviceman, is among the first batch of participants.

"I was looking for internships or to pick up skills, because I felt that coming out of junior college and then going to NS, I was not prepared with skills for the workforce," he said.

He hopes to build interpersonal skills as well as form connections and networks through the programme.

Ms Debra Soh, 20, a first-year communications student at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), said: "I hope to gain relevant skills for my major and working life, such as hard skills like how to plan a project, pitch it, and see something transform from a brainchild into something concrete."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 02, 2021, with the headline 'Chance for youth to tackle real-life issues'. Subscribe