S’pore Youths Can ‘Test Drive’ Companies Under NTUC’s New Career Trial Before Starting First Job

S'pore Youths Can 'Test Drive' Companies Under NTUC's New Career Trial Before Starting First Job

NTUC’s Career Starter Lab Lets Youths Explore Job Fit & Connects Them To Workplace Mentors

Moving out of the classroom and into the workplace is every youth’s first step into adulthood.

Some might quake at the thought of diving into their first job without a clear idea of whether it will be a good fit. That’s why internships and mentorships are highly sought after all the time.

Recognising this, NTUC has launched a new enhanced career trial model, Career Starter Lab, which offers youths the chance to ‘test drive’ host companies to explore a mutual job fit and help them transition from school to work.

The trial will connect youths to dedicated workplace mentors as they undergo a structured training programme.

This way, first jobbers can stop Googling and start experiencing life in the office for real — sans the full-time commitment and scary notion of failing probation.

Know your needs vs the company’s needs under Career Starter Lab trial

Today, looking through job portals is no longer the only step in job-seeking.

Glassdoor reviews and LinkedIn profiles matter just as much because it’s like a matchmaking process — you’d want to know exactly what you’re signing up for before agreeing.

The Career Starter Lab helps to facilitate the trial process. If you participate, you will be placed on a three-month trial with a host company to explore mutual job fit.

This is when you can assess the company’s culture, operations, work arrangements, and benefits while understanding your needs. Additionally, you will undergo a structured training programme with a dedicated workplace mentor so there’s someone to guide you along the way.

At the same time, the company will also assess whether you are the right fit to fill the required role.

If both parties like what the other brings to the table, then it is a match made in corporate heaven — sorta like a ‘test drive’ concept but for work.

Feedback reveals youths desire quality internships & career mentorships

In his speech at May Day Rally 2023, NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng shared that NTUC recognises that they can serve youth better.

And they are committed to doing so. A year ago, NTUC launched the Youth Taskforce to hear directly from young people on their aspirations and challenges.

Source: Ng Chee Meng on Facebook

The NTUC Youth Taskforce is part of #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations, which has engaged more than 40,000 workers across different segments and life stages in the last 10 months to better understand what they need.

Over 10,000 youths from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Polytechnics, and Autonomous Universities have also been involved since July last year.

career starter lab

Source: Young NTUC on Facebook

Asked to list the top three sources they would need to transition from school to their careers, 31.4% of respondents named quality internships.

Meanwhile, 18.9% said that career mentorships would help them gain real work experience and insights into the workplace.

With these considerations in mind, the Career Starter Lab was conceptualised.

Career Starter Lab to focus on NSFs first

Mr Ng said the pilot version of the trial will involve 100 companies to provide high-quality and structured career trials with mentorship to graduates, including those finishing National Service.

With regard to full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), he noted that more can be done to better support them beyond current initiatives.

career starter lab

Source: MINDEF on Facebook

Therefore, they will be the first group the Career Starter Lab pilot will focus on after the official launch.

Youths can expect the career trial to consist of the following:

  • an onboarding process that fosters a better understanding of the company’s culture
  • clarity on their job roles and expectations
  • learning opportunities relevant to their field of study
  • proper supervision and mentorship.

All these would contribute to replicating a positive internship experience for youths.

Firms like Singapore Airlines, Uniqlo already on board

Stressing the union’s commitment to the pilot’s success, Mr Ng said they will devote resources to:

  • co-develop a career trial playbook to provide tips on onboarding
  • put together a cadre of 300 in-company mentors
  • ensure mentors will have access to workshops and resources
  • deploy dedicated staff to support companies onboard.

Major local enterprises and multinational companies already participating in the pilot include Singapore Airlines, Rolls-Royce, Gardens by the Bay, Resorts World Sentosa, Uniqlo, Singtel, and FairPrice.

career starter lab

Source: Google Maps

Mr Ng said efforts to build this ecosystem are underway. They hope to have the first batch of Career Starter Lab participants in the second half of the year.

“NTUC recognises that we can serve the youth better. And we will do so,” he posited.

Other than youths, NTUC has been championing the needs of lower-wage workers, mature workers, platform workers, Professionals, Managers, and Executives (PMEs), and more.

After all, as Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong shared in his May Day Rally speech, we are living in an “increasingly dangerous and troubled world” where competition is becoming more intense.

Thus, more emphasis needs to be placed on workers’ welfare than ever before.

Career Starter Lab registration to open soon for graduates & NSmen

Suppose you’re wondering whether you’ll receive any remuneration, considering it’s a trial and not a full-time job.

In that case, you’ll be happy to know that support will be given during this period.

Career Trial support comes to you in the form of:

  • training allowance from S$7.50 per hour and for up to 480 hours (approximately three months based on 40 hours per week)
  • retention incentive if hired by host companies and retained for at least three months.

Registration for NTUC Career Starter Lab will open later, so keep an eye out for it.

For now, companies interested in participating in this pilot can register here.

To learn about NTUC’s #EveryWorkerMatters Conversations and share how to better support youth workers, click here.

More resources, better support for all workers

The great thing about living in an increasingly modern world is that more emphasis is being placed on workers’ welfare than ever before.

Unlike back then, when it was common to stick to one job for life or learn to survive on their own, workers these days have more choices — and better support.

Thanks to more resources, we now have the chance to make informed decisions about our careers.

This post was brought to you in collaboration with NTUC.

Featured image adapted from Barney Yau on Unsplash and TheSmartLocal, for illustration purposes only.

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