HDB inks pacts with 2 polys for internships involving community engagement

The memorandums of understanding were signed with Temasek Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Two agreements signed on Sunday morning (May 29) will offer polytechnic students internships with the Housing Board that will help them gain hands-on experience related to their area of study, such as project planning and management.

Under these two partnerships, students will also learn how to engage residents and seniors effectively and meaningfully, and tap their skills to design and implement outreach activities, said Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah.

Ms Indranee, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance, witnessed the signing of the two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) at HDB Hub in Toa Payoh on Sunday.

One was a new agreement between the HDB and Singapore Polytechnic’s School of Architecture and the Built Environment - which offers a diploma programme in integrated events and project management - while the other was a renewal of the agreement with Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, which has a diploma programme in social sciences in gerontology.

HDB will also conduct talks about community interaction to boost students’ knowledge in the area and offer book prizes to reward them for community engagement efforts.

Ms Indranee said that in the last three years, HDB’s partnership with Temasek Poly saw over 500 students running engagement sessions with over 6,300 senior citizens.

These sessions included mass workouts and activities such as music and art and craft workshops.

The participants were from 18 senior activity centres in the eastern and north-eastern parts of Singapore.

Under the new MOU with Singapore Poly, about 100 students from the partnered course each year will work with HDB to organise events and activities to engage new HDB home owners and promote strong bonds in the community.

Both MOUs are for three years, from May 2022 to May 2025.

The signings took place during HDB’s Friends of Our Heartlands Volunteer Engagement Day.

Ms Indranee also presented awards and certificates to volunteers from the Friends of Our Heartlands Volunteer Network for their contributions.

A total of 704 individuals and 15 organisations received either the gold, silver or bronze award, or a certificate of appreciation, depending on the number of hours and years volunteered.

The network, which was set up in 2017, has now close to 14,000 volunteers.
One bronze award winner was Rachel Sonsun, who joined the volunteer network in 2020 when she was 14 years old. To spread the message of environmental sustainability and eco awareness, Rachel organised four eco tours in Punggol town earlier this year with 70 participants.

During the tours, the Secondary 4 student from St Margaret’s Secondary School shared about the eco-friendly features of the town such as the solar-powered lights and how the blocks are positioned for maximum wind ventilation, as well as tips on green and sustainable living.

Rachel also co-created an e-resource kit with HDB, which is being used by teachers to prepare students to organise eco tours themselves.

“With climate change and global warming, sustainability is really important. I have a passion in learning about sustainable initiatives and championing them as it is really meaningful,” she said.

West Spring Primary School, which was among the organisations recognised and received a silver award, used food to bring residents in an HDB neighbourhood in Bukit Panjang together.

Its pupils reached out to about 100 residents through a virtual cook-along session in end-2021 and taught them how to make ondeh ondeh - pandan-flavoured glutinous rice flour balls filled with gula melaka.

They also collected food recipes from residents and consolidated them into a community recipe book.

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