Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Words by Lauren Ong
Photography by Najeer Yusof
This article was originally published on todayonline.com on 14th July 2019
SINGAPORE — They are school dropouts, or youths who did not go through the traditional secondary school-junior college or polytechnic route.
Thanks to Hatch, a social enterprise founded by a National University of Singapore (NUS) undergraduate, these youths are getting jobs in digital marketing and user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design.
Mr Victor Zhu, Hatch’s 24-year-old founder, and his team see value in developing talents in individuals who do not have the best paper qualifications.
“I think one of the sad things happening in Singapore is that we’re so qualification driven. By the age of 18, you have already been streamed according to your academic ability or your background,” said Mr Zhu, who is in his final year of studies at NUS’ Faculty of Science.
“There are a lot of youths who never believe they are capable of any skilled jobs, they think that they’re going to be in the logistics sector, they’re going to be driving for Grab or Foodpanda forever. And it didn’t make a lot of sense, that is objectively not true.”
Hatch works with youths referred to them by the Ministry of Social and Family Development, or organisations such as Beyond Social Services and YMCA.
These youths will undergo a one-month training programme in UX and UI design, where they learn web design using HTML and CSS codes, or in digital marketing, which covers areas such as social media marketing, analytics and search engine optimisation.
They will also be taught soft skills like communication skills and teamwork.
This is followed by a three-month internship with startups or small-and-medium-sized enterprises that Hatch partners with.
Asked why digital marketing and UX/UI specifically, Mr Zhu said these are skills that are in high demand.
“A lot of companies are increasingly seeing the need for a digital presence, and they’re trying to expand their teams in that area,” he said.