Budget debate: New scholarship for Malay students to pursue careers in finance

(From left) GIC Chief People Officer Deanna Ong, GIC CEO Lim Chow Kiat, Minister Zaqy Mohamad, Mendaki CEO Zuraidah Abdullah and Mendaki's Deputy Director of Partnerships Noor Azlan Salim at the signing ceremony for the scholarships on March 11, 2022.

SINGAPORE - A new scholarship has been set up between Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC and self-help group Mendaki to spur more Malay students here to pursue a career in finance.

The scholarship will cover tuition fees and living allowances, as well as programmes such as overseas exchanges and finance-related seminars, said Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad on Thursday (March 10).

Making the announcement during the debate on the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's budget, Mr Zaqy said that the scholarship will be open to eligible students from the National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University and Nanyang Technological University.

All disciplines, excluding medicine and dentistry, are eligible for the scholarship.

The tie-up between GIC and Mendaki is the latest initiative by the self-help group to grow its industry partnerships to position students to growth sectors.

Those on the GIC-Mendaki scholarship will also gain access to internships, job rotations, networking opportunities and mentorship from GIC. The recipients will join the company with a bond of three years upon graduation.

"The support and partnerships from industry partners such as GIC reflect Mendaki's aspiration to build the competencies of our workforce by investing in our youth and their education," said Mr Zaqy, who is the self-help group's deputy chairman.

"I hope this initiative will encourage more partners to join our endeavour in supporting youth and young talents to pursue a career in growth industries and spur them to achieve excellence. Together, we are able to empower and navigate our talents, regardless of their background, towards success."

As part of efforts to support students in the community, Mr Zaqy also announced on Thursday that Mendaki's Institute of Technical Education (ITE) mentoring programme will be enhanced to take into account the unique needs of mentees, and to motivate them to do well in school.

The ITE Empowerment Programme, which was piloted in 2019, saw more than 1,000 students take part in it last year.

Mr Zaqy added that one in every five Malay-Muslim Nitec students were enrolled in the programme last year, with ninety-six per cent of participants remaining in school and progressing to their second year.

Under a refreshed name, #amPowered@ITE, the programme will also be progressively made available under the Mendaki Tuition Scheme and at M3 towns.

M3@Town is an initiative under the M3 programme - a tie-up between Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council - to serve the community.

Care advisers will also be deployed to the YouthSpaces in the three ITEs to complement the mentoring programme. YouthSpace is a collaboration between Mendaki and ITE to hold activities for students on campus.

"Their role is to guide students on possible education pathways, and connect them to skilling or emplacement opportunities," said Mr Zaqy.

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