New mentoring platform for youth to connect with mentors from public and private sectors

Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry Mr Alvin Tan speaking to students during the panel discussion. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - A new portal backed by the National Youth Council (NYC) will be launched in the first quarter of next year, which will connect youth to 1,000 mentors from companies such as Facebook, Prudential and Unilever.

The WeConnect portal, now available in its beta version, is part of the Mentoring Alliance for Action (AfA), which aims to develop common resources and raise mentorship standards in Singapore.

Mentoring AfA, which is co-led by NYC and non-profit group Mentoring Alliance, is expected to benefit over 200,000 young people aged 17 to 25 years old.

They will be able to receive advice from mentors on the educational paths they can take and how they can grow in both their careers and personal lives.

Speaking at a virtual sharing by mentor and mentee pairs on Tuesday (Nov 23) evening, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Alvin Tan said: "As mentors, we've gone through certain life processes. By sharing those experiences, our mentees can learn from them and hopefully not make the same mistakes."

Mr Tan, who is also adviser to the Mentoring AfA,was speaking to an audience of about 400, which included young working professionals and students from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), polytechnics, and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

Mr Tan and Mr Clarence Ching were one of the three pairs of mentors and mentees who shared how they have impacted each other's lives for the better. The two have known each other for about 10 years, having met while volunteering among residents in Chinatown.

Mr Ching, 26, an assistant manager at the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre's Company of Good, said Mr Tan had always been available for advice, whether it was while he was serving national service or furthering his studies in university.

When its enhanced version is officially launched next year, WeConnect will be a one-stop platform making it easier for both youth and potential mentors to participate in mentoring programmes.

It will include listings from organisations with existing mentoring programmes such as the one run by non-profit organisation Advisory Singapore as well as employees from the private sector who have volunteered to share career advice and insights about their work experiences.

Since the Mentoring AfA was launched in March, close to 180 organisations and professionals have pledged their support and interest to join, said NYC.

Singer-songwriter Annette Lee, 29, who was one of the mentees on Tuesday's panel, said: "Having a mentor around... is perfect because I have a person next to me who I'm accountable to and who keeps me grounded."

Thanking her mentor, Ms Karen Lim, the music director of New Creation Church, Ms Lee said: "When I need to discuss new songs or get thoughts on a project I'm working on, there's always someone to turn to."

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