SINGAPORE - Von Xin Yee, 17, dropped out of school in February this year to take a break as she felt too stressed from her studies at the Institute of Technical Education.
Xin Yee was uncertain about her future until she received a call from her social worker encouraging her to join the My Beautiful Life @ Hatch programme.
The programme was started by social enterprise Hatch in partnership with charity Beautiful People on May 9 this year to provide digital and design skills training to young women who may be school dropouts, at-risk youth or come from low-income families.
Xin Yee is one of 14 young women in the programme's first graduating class, with the occasion marked at a ceremony held at studio Bold at Work in Jurong East on Thursday (July 28).
She said: "This programme was a second chance for me to study. I am glad my social worker referred me to this programme as it is a better use of my time than doing nothing. I have always been interested in social media marketing and now I have the skills to pursue it further."
The programme is supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority's Digital for Life Fund, which was established by President Halimah Yacob. She was the guest of honour at the event.
Hatch chief executive Victor Zhu said at the ceremony: "We learnt from social workers that many youth from disadvantaged backgrounds think they can never get a digital marketing job. We realised there was an aspiration gap which we could help fill.
"Young people are motivated regardless of their background. We should ensure that as long as they have an aspiration, there is a pathway for them to follow."
Participants of the programme undergo digital marketing training from Tuesdays to Fridays for 10 weeks, where they learn skills such as copywriting, creating blogs and user experience design. They are then attached for three months to small enterprises or Hatch's media agency, Hatch Mediahouse, in digital marketing roles.
Another graduate Nur Sadiqah Bibi, 19, who dropped out of school due to family issues in February 2021, said: "After hearing a guest sharing from Women @ Google through this programme, I feel inspired to pursue a career in the digital field. I do not know where I am going for my work attachment yet but I feel ready to tackle it."
At the end of the graduation ceremony, Madam Halimah penned words of encouragement on a piece of paper which was framed and presented to the graduating class.
She wrote: "I encourage you to use your skills and knowledge to empower others and to make a positive impact on society."