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2nd Quarter 2013 Newsletter

Bridging The Gap Between School And The Workplace

In partnership with Bizlink Centre, Temasek Cares has launched the Temasek Cares – Transition To Work Programme, a pilot programme aimed at helping graduating students from Assumption Pathway School and Northlight School find and sustain employment. Both schools provide education for youths who have not done well in the Primary School Leaving Exam (PSLE), many of whom have learning needs or come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

These youths face many challenges in securing and sustaining employment when they leave school, and are not well served by existing employment support programmes which are targeted at older adults or persons with special needs.

The programme, started in October last year, will not only match the youths to jobs in various industries, but will also provide the necessary resources to ensure that they are able to cope with their new role. A multi-disciplinary team comprising of occupational therapists, psychologists and job coaches work closely with the schools to provide vocational assessment, screening, job matching and job support.

Yap Zhi Yuan is one of the graduates who has benefitted from this programme. Zhi Yuan, who attended Northlight School, was born with mild physical deformities. Through the Temasek Cares – Transition To Work Programme, he works at NTUC Fairprice as a Retail Assistant, where he assists in the replenishing of goods and product display. "I like what I am doing," says Zhi Yuan. "The NTUC Fairprice staff are very patient and take the time to properly train me for my job." Zhi Yuan adds that knowing there is additional assistance provides a boost of confidence: "I feel greatly supported by the Bizlink Placement Officer whenever he comes to visit me at my workplace."

With a growing number of graduates from both schools, this programme will benefit many like Zhi Yuan. It has received support from a number of employers, who have signed up to provide employment opportunities, including Silosa Beach Resort, Home-Fix DIY Pte Ltd, and Paradise Group Holdings Pte Ltd.

The grant of over $500,000 from Temasek Cares will help more than 200 graduates over the next 2 years.

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A Step In The Right Direction

Coming from single parent families, Tom and Mark (not their real names), both 17, had difficult childhoods. However, while staying in Boys' Town, a home for disadvantaged youths, they were determined to turn over a new leaf and achieve good academic results. Their perseverance paid off - Tom was accepted into Shatec while Mark enrolled in the Visual Communications course in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). But faced with financial constraints, both boys would have had to take up part-time jobs to fund their education.

Having engaged the Boys' Town youth since 2011 through the Befrienders programme, the Singapore Technologies Endowment Programme (STEP) Singapore Chapter recognised that, like Tom and Mark, there were youths who possessed the right attitude but lacked the financial support to pursue their goals. As such, the Boys' Town sponsorship initiative was established.

Under this initiative, STEP will sponsor Tom and Mark $6,000 each, alleviating their financial burden so that they can concentrate on their studies.

They will be mentored by STEP Alumnus Ang Min Jia, a graduate from the National University of Singapore. "I came from a similar background as Tom and Mark and went through similar encounters," shares Min Jia. "But when I was a polytechnic student, I had mentors who helped me a lot. I am very grateful to my mentors and to STEP which offered me an undergraduate scholarship, and I hope that I can also help Tom and Mark get the recognition that they deserve."

Although they have graduated from Boys' Town, both youths intend to pay it forward by continuing their engagement with the home. "I will definitely return to Boys' Town to engage the boys through physical training, and motivate them by sharing my experience," says Mark.

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Made-In-Singapore Trees To Increase Sustainability In Timber Industry

Researchers at the Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) have engineered a method to rapidly reproduce naturally-selected elite tree candidate in an exponential process which can produce 1 million plant offsprings from a single parent plant in a year. These trees, created in Singapore, are tolerant to hot and dry spells and can grow in wastelands, making them ideal for reforestation and timber plantations.

"Deforestation remains as the critical issue for sustainable development," explains a TLL spokesperson. "The impediments to using plantation trees that are grown from seeds through conventional methods stem from its unreliability and inconsistent yield, thus affecting returns from investment. Biotechnology can significantly reduce this ambiguity and in so doing, ensure a better take up rate of such trees by the industry."

In 2006, a spin-off company, Bioforest was established to produce Made-in-Singapore trees commercially and to conduct further research on various tropical tree species. Their efforts resulted in an acquisition of Bioforest by a Singapore-listed entity.

As part of the Green Wave themed "International Year of Forest" in 2011, a global biological diversity campaign to educate the young on the importance of biodiversity, 100 Made-in-Singapore trees were planted in some 30 schools in Singapore. Apart from contributing shade and greenery, the trees serve as a reminder of how science can contribute to ecological and botanical sustainability.

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Healthcare Training In Indonesia Receives Boost

Some 115 nursing professionals and managers from 13 health care institutions across Indonesia participated in a nursing training programme supported by Temasek Foundation. Organised in partnership with Nanyang Polytechnic International (NYPi) and Indonesia's Ministry of Health, the programme aims to raise the level of nursing care in Indonesia and promote excellence in nursing practices.

The 18-month programme, which started in November 2012, will see participants undergo various courses such as Nursing Management and Train-the-Trainer courses in Orthopedic Nursing and Nursing Pedagogy.

It is hoped that the participants of the programme will share their newly acquired knowledge with other nurses in Indonesia through various channels such as post-training sharing workshops. Eventually, the programme aims to reach an additional 575 nurses.

This is the second such programme organised with NYPi in Indonesia. In 2008, Temasek Foundation and NYPi trained 104 nursing professionals from seven nursing schools and hospitals in Java. Concepts introduced during the course include evidence-based practice, critical thinking and infection control strategies that were subsequently customised and incorporated into their existing nursing curriculum.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 1 Apr - TLL collaborates with Cambodia's Ministry of Health to develop capabilities in laboratory biorisk management [More]
  • 19 Mar - Temasek Foundation and Singapore Polytechnic jointly launch Engineering educational framework in Yogyakarta, Indonesia[More]
  • 22 FebLaunch of Temasek Cares – Transition to Work Programme[More]

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