Apart from pleasing its guests, The Fullerton Hotel has a new mission in mind.
Launched in February 2018, The Fullerton Academy provides youth from low-income families with mentorship and apprenticeship opportunities in the areas of hospitality and creative arts.
It also serves as the corporate social responsibility arm of the hotel, which is well known for its exquisite furnishings and luxurious suites that overlook the Singapore River.
The academy is the brainchild of Ms Cathy Chia, assistant director of marketing and communications at The Fullerton Hotels Singapore.
The academy is also the result of knowledge and insights she gleaned from workshops at the Company of Good Fellowship programme, a talent development initiative organised by the Company of Good*.
Creating the academy
Ms Chia is part of the first intake of the Company of Good Fellowship programme, which seeks to develop top talent in organisations to grow a community of corporate leaders who will strengthen the ecosystem of corporate giving in Singapore.
Says Ms Chia: “The Fellowship programme provided a systematic approach to corporate giving. With the frameworks provided, I was able to develop a holistic programme for The Fullerton Academy.”
One of the programme’s experiences was the Poverty Simulation Workshop organised by the charity organisation Daughters of Tomorrow.
During the workshop, the participants, or “fellows,” were given specific roles to play, which revolved around different stressors such as illness and unemployment.
Through that experience, Ms Chia was able to benefit from fresh insights and develop more empathy for the circumstances faced by poorer families.
She adds: “More importantly, it has helped me to understand there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
“Helping the less privileged requires extensive collaboration. Government agencies, social service administrators, corporate workers and individuals need to play different roles to build a more inclusive society.”
During the Company of Good Fellowship programme, Ms Chia met individuals from various industries who were also passionate about doing good.
She says: “Even after the programme ended, our community continued to organise informal meet-ups and WhatsApp group chats. We also shared collaboration opportunities.”
Through the programme, Ms Chia got to learn from mentors from various companies with long-standing corporate giving policies and programmes.
She credits her mentor Ms Lydia Ang, senior manager from CapitaLand for guiding her through process of setting up The Fullerton Academy.
Ms Chia is also looking at measuring the true impact of The Fullerton Academy.
She says that with the data collected by NVPC and its partners, she hopes to fine-tune the academy’s programme further to maximise its benefits together with REACH Community Services and her colleagues at The Fullerton Hotels Singapore.
“I would recommend the Fellowship programme to corporate workers who wish to enhance their corporate giving strategies or learn how to create positive and sustainable impact in the community,” adds Ms Chia.
Helping youths plan for the future
The 30-year-old assistant manager says that with The Fullerton Academy, the hotel hopes to instil confidence and impart practical skill sets to youth, so they can establish meaningful careers in the travel and hospitality sectors in the future.
Ms Chia adds: “We see the potential in harnessing the dreams and talents of youth to form the next generation of passionate service ambassadors in the hospitality field.”
The idea for the academy was born when social workers who accompanied youth on tours to the Fullerton Hotel gave feedback that the trips had inspired the youth to aspire beyond their current circumstances.
The Fullerton Academy has two training tracks, which will take five months each to complete.
The first track equips youth with knowledge pertaining to the hospitality trade through modular workshops on etiquette, culinary and service skills.
The second track cultivates their interests in the creative arts through photography and videography workshops.
The courses are conducted by employees, vendors and partners of The Fullerton Hotels Singapore, in partnership with REACH Community Services.
Plans to offer internship opportunities to graduating youths with exemplary performances are also in the pipeline.
*Launched on 2 June 2016, Company of Good was developed by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC), in partnership with the Singapore Business Federation Foundation (SBFF), supported by the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth (MCCY), and in support of Singapore Cares (SG Cares). Company of Good aims to empower businesses in Singapore to give in strategic, sustainable and impactful ways. Find out how your company can do good at www.companyofgood.sg.