ST Causes Week helps mentorship scheme expand reach

Kaplan graduate Jeslyn Ee, who benefited from MentorsHub, with Mr Jarod Ong (left) and Dr Hadi Wijaya, both of whom are mentors on the scheme. The initiative pairs undergraduates with professionals who offer career advice.
Kaplan graduate Jeslyn Ee, who benefited from MentorsHub, with Mr Jarod Ong (left) and Dr Hadi Wijaya, both of whom are mentors on the scheme. The initiative pairs undergraduates with professionals who offer career advice.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

When Ms Jeslyn Ee, 23, started an internship at an integrated marketing communications agency in February, she was worried that she would not be able to adapt to the demands of the industry.

She had completed her university degree course with private school Kaplan in December last year and had not accumulated any related work experience when she was in university. Her previous industry exposure as a polytechnic student was in chemistry.

She then signed up for the social initiative MentorsHub, which targets undergraduates in their final years of study and pairs them with professionals who can advise them on career-related issues.

With lessons learnt during her mentorship sessions with Dr Hadi Wijaya, 47, who runs an advisory firm that helps social enterprises with strategic marketing, Ms Ee transitioned to a full-time role as an accounts executive at the firm in April.

The number of undergraduates involved in MentorsHub climbed after it was first featured in The Straits Times Causes Week last December. From just over 20 participants this year, including Ms Ee, the scheme is now oversubscribed for the first time. For its third cycle, the committee has to shortlist and review candidates for 30 slots. Some may have to join the 2019 intake. The total number of mentors in the scheme has also increased from 26 last year to 37 now.

Dr Candice Chee, 52, who founded MentorsHub as a corporate responsibility programme under her consulting firm, said it is exploring how the programmes can be further expanded next year. While students now meet their mentors at least four times a year, there are plans to hold roundtable discussions where small groups of students or graduates can meet industry experts to learn more.

Causes Week returns this year for the sixth time, from Dec 4 to 10. Anyone with a story or cause to share for the betterment of society can write in to be featured in The Straits Times.

Mr Jarod Ong, 39, head of operations at Singapore Exchange, signed up to be a mentor at MentorsHub after reading about it last year. "I had supportive managers who mentored me when I first started out in my career. When I saw this, I was reminded of how not many people are as fortunate as me, and saw an opportunity to give back," said Mr Ong.

Said ST editor Warren Fernandez, who is also editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English/ Malay/Tamil Media Group: "We started Causes Week a few years ago to give some space to groups that are doing good work in the community without drawing much publicity. Our aim was to give them some support to draw attention, resources and volunteers to their cause. Over the years, the response had been great: Readers enjoy the stories, organisations get recognised and many respond to pitch in to help out. This is why we are doing it again this year."

• For more information on MentorsHub, go to www.MentorsHub.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2017, with the headline 'ST Causes Week helps mentorship scheme expand reach'. Print Edition | Subscribe