Oct 12, 2022
BTE Student Stories
Thanks to the generous Johnson & Johnson volunteers who contribute their time and talents in Singapore, students there receive a variety of college and career readiness opportunities. Provided under the banner of Bridge to Employment (BTE), J&J volunteers team up with the Jurongville Secondary School and Trybe, a social services organization, to advance the career awareness and higher education aspirations of underprivileged students. Here is a snapshot of some of the ways J&J volunteers and their Singaporean partners enriched the learning environment for students over the last two years.
Team building at an adventure company
In April 2021, 25 J&J mentors met with their assigned groups of students. Together, they participated in an outdoor team-building session, led by a local adventure company focused on youth development. As they navigated various stations and obstacles that required them to problem solve as a team, these activities provided a platform for both students and mentors to get acquainted, build confidence, and experience success together as a group. And it was fun!
Career Q and A with J&J professionals
BTE found creative ways to keep students engaged during the pandemic. In July 2021, the J&J Singapore team conducted a hybrid session, where students logged onto a virtual call to converse with the panelists from J&J. The panelists shared about their career journey towards their current work roles. After the panel, students logged onto breakout rooms to meet their J&J mentors and engaged in activities to help them connect and build understanding. Once concluded, the students went on to engage in a hands-on session in creating their own non-alcoholic hand sanitizers. This maker session was conducted by the teachers at Jurongville Secondary School, and supported by Trybe staff onsite.
Getting hands on with design thinking
In October 2021, the J&J BTE team collaborated with the Design Team from J&J Singapore to conceptualize and conduct a Design Thinking workshop for the students. The hybrid session was conducted online by J&J volunteers, while the Jurongville Secondary School and Trybe teams were on the ground supporting the students. Students were tasked to design an ideal pet for their mentors, which called on the mentors to join in the video call and share their needs and feedback. With this input, the students described and designed an animal ‘companion’ for their mentors.
Take time for gratitude, stop, and reflect
Towards the end of 2021, the J&J BTE team organized a day of activities for the students, as a way to celebrate their journey. The Jurongville Secondary School and Trybe teams met the students in school, and engaged them in a day of games, a meal, reflection, and thanksgiving. Students expressed their gratitude to their mentors through various projects, and also participated in focus group discussions with the BTE evaluator. The evaluation team will use the student feedback to shape future programs and activities for the students.
Career Interest Diagnostic and Field Visit
At the start of 2022, BTE focused on two main objectives for its first activity – (i) strengthening the rapport between the students and the volunteers, and (ii) informing the students about career options. Students had a day out at the beach with their volunteers to welcome the start of the BTE Year 2. The students then participated in different career awareness workshops such as the RIASEC workshop to further understand their career interest. RIASEC, which stands for realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional, is a theory of personality that focuses on career and vocational choice. By completing a questionnaire, students receive insights on their inherent interests and preferences. The volunteers then accompanied the students on a visit to Singapore’s Life-Long Learning Institute that assists the workforce in developing in-demand skills for future employment.
Students participate in design competition
In 2022, students learned about the digital sector and learned from J&J industry practitioners about digital marketing, user interface, and user experience (UI/UX) design. The J&J team also introduced students to the Design Thinking framework and methodology. Students then applied the Design Thinking analytic framework to identify different ‘pain points’ they experienced in school, followed by designing a problem which they wanted to address. The student then ideated different solutions and finally created a prototype for their selected solution. Students then presented their solutions and prototypes to the J&J innovation team in a Design Thinking competition, and one team was selected as the winner.
The first two years of Bridge to Employment in Singapore have been filled with great mentorship and relationship building, career insights and hands on learning activities to inspire students to continue their studies and prepare for future careers. Thanks to the many J&J volunteers for their commitment and generosity!
Read more about our Singapore site here.