SINGAPORE - People who work with at-risk youth are getting more support, with easier access to mentors and supervision under two new schemes rolled out on Friday (May 7).
The pilot Youth Work Supervision and Youth Work Mentorship schemes were launched during the inaugural Youth Work Day event, which celebrates the contributions of youth work professionals in Singapore and promotes professional development in the youth work sector.
Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development and Culture, Community and Youth Eric Chua, who was guest of honour at the virtual event, noted the pivotal role such workers play in supporting at-risk youth most affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
He lauded their innovative ways to support youth during the circuit breaker, including helping students access digital devices for home-based learning and guiding youth through job interview preparations.
He said: "As a fraternity, you have demonstrated great tenacity. I am confident that you will continue to nurture our youths to become resilient individuals who will emerge stronger from the pandemic."
Under the Youth Work Supervision Scheme, workers who are unable to find seasoned practitioners for supervision at their organisations can engage a supervisor from an approved registry maintained by Youth Work Association Singapore (YWAS).
The YWAS, registered in 2012, was started by a band of veteran youth work practitioners who felt the need to distinguish youth work as a distinctive practice.
Supervisors should have a minimum of five years in youth work practice and at least one year of supervisory experience.
The Youth Work Mentorship Scheme will match youth workers with experienced mentors for support beyond their routine sessions with youth such as guidance in their personal and career development.
Mentors should have a minimum of 10 years of experience in youth work, and be recognised as an expert in an area of specialisation, such as residential care, family services, youth outreach or school services.
Fifteen mentors were appointed by YWAS at the event, while 20 supervisors have responded to YWAS' invitation to be on the registry of approved supervisors.
Executive director of Children-At-Risk Empowerment Association Singapore John Tan, one of the mentors appointed by YWAS, said the schemes are a positive step forward in raising awareness and opportunities in the youth work sector.
"A supervisor holds up a mirror for the youth worker to reflect on his interactions with the youth, while a mentor can play a guiding role by saying 'I have walked this path, maybe these are things you want to consider' and so on."
"At the end of the day, a positive youth development outcome is when a young person receiving care will be the one giving back to the community in the future."
Those wishing to join the mentorship scheme or as potential supervisors can find more information at this website.