Students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) will soon be able to offer their skills and talents for hire, and receive alerts on internship opportunities at companies keen to engage them for short-term job assignments. In addition, they can look forward to greater connectivity with the university’s alumni and tap on their wealth of knowledge and experience as they chart their career journey.
These innovations through new digital platforms – the Internship-As-A-Service (IAAS) and conNectUS – are the latest offerings from the University as it seeks to boost the future readiness of NUS students and graduates while preparing them for the fast-changing workplaces of tomorrow.
The two platforms were launched today by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Education, at the NUS Kent Ridge campus, where industry partners, students and alumni shared with him their experiences and features of the platforms.
NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said, “In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, it is vital that our students and graduates remain nimble and constantly reinvent themselves. These new digital platforms – the IAAS and conNectUS – will enhance our suite of future-ready offerings for them, which include lifelong learning, interdisciplinary learning, internship opportunities and career guidance programmes. They can get an early start in building their career journeys by tapping on the gig economy to market their talents to industry, while building global networks and opportunities with NUS alumni in Singapore and across the world.”
Profiling skills and talents in a connected marketplace
Led by NUS Centre for Future-ready Graduates (NUS CFG) and NUS Enterprise, IAAS is designed as a skills marketplace to provide NUS students with the ability to self-market their skills and talents, such as programming, data analysis, graphic design, music composition, copy writing and more, to potential employers. The platform also connects companies which can engage this talent pool and offer internships or “gigs” (short-term jobs or freelance work) such as video-editing, translation and digital marketing projects. For a start, more than 60 industry partners, ranging from multinational corporations to small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups, such as Baxter Singapore, Oracle, Grab, Invigilo and Augmentus, have come onboard the platform which has gone “live” since early January this year. The platform currently has over 400 projects available.
Amongst the key benefits of IAAS is the expansion of opportunities and flexibility for students, who can now embark on short-stint internships and projects. This is in addition to the longer-term structured internship programmes that students may have through their faculties and schools. Importantly, students will have the opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge in real-world environments. They will also get to develop soft skills such as leadership development and interdisciplinary thinking, as well as the opportunity to forge connections which will contribute towards their career portfolio and help them gain a headstart into their career journeys.
“In recent years, Baxter Singapore has partnered closely with NUS to provide internship and traineeship opportunities. We are very excited about the launch of the NUS IAAS given the growing gig economy and increasing preference of employees to engage in on-demand work. This symbolises the future of work which Baxter is promoting and provides a great opportunity for us to engage with students on high-impact and meaningful projects which are aligned with our commitment to develop young talents for the healthcare industry”, said Ms Ang Ging Yin, Senior HR Manager, Baxter Singapore.
Ms Stacia Tay Hui Wen, a final-year NUS Business School student, who was one of the early pilot users of IAAS, said, “NUS IAAS provides students with exciting new opportunities. Besides the usual internships, I am now able to take on projects and internships of flexible lengths, throughout my studies, to expand different skillsets. This past vacation, I secured a two months-long internship with a family office through NUS IAAS, deepening my knowledge of the financial market.”
Connecting with alumni and building professional networks
Complementing IAAS, NUS students can also tap on the new conNectUS digital platform to set up their profiles and build up their professional networks. The efforts of a multi-departmental taskforce led by NUS CFG, the online platform is designed as a professional networking space for NUS students to connect with alumni within the NUS environment. The latest addition supplements the current suite of career guidance and advisory programmes that CFG offers to prepare students for the working world.
With features such as a people directory, live feeds and forums, event calendar and job opportunities, students can plug into a wide and diverse pool of alumni for mentorship opportunities, to share insights and ideas and be notified of career development opportunities. Alumni members can also benefit from this network to build a stronger connection with their alma mater and be spurred to pursue lifelong learning opportunities.
NUS students who are onboard the new platform have found it to be a useful resource to form connections that will open doors for them and help them in their careers. Student societies and clubs have also found it beneficial. The NUS Graduate Students’ Society, for instance, has identified more than 50 new alumni mentors through conNectUS to provide advice to its members.
NUS Faculty of Science second-year student Mr Xie Qihuang who majors in Pharmacy shared, “I have used conNectUS to connect with healthcare professionals, especially pharmacists, to learn more about the profession as well as pharmacy operations. Furthermore, I am also interested in digital health and the application of data analytics and AI in healthcare, and have used the platform to connect with experienced professionals in these areas. The conNectUS platform has hence also helped me get a better idea of what it is like to work as a data professional in the healthcare industry.”
Since its soft launch in July last year, about 10,000 NUS students and alumni have joined the conNectUS networking platform.
Please refer to Annex A for more information on the Internship-As-A-Service and conNectUS platforms.