Reflections | Why I do what I do
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Looking beyond qualifications, we uncover the unique stories of our Hatch graduates and celebrate their milestones in life. In this article, I am going to share three success stories that my team (very fortunately) had the chance to be a part of. Through them, I hope to highlight one message: employment should not be solely dependent on one’s paper qualifications.
Where do I begin? Operationally, Hatch has been running for slightly over two years. Through these couple of years or so, I have had the opportunity to meet many students. It has been a humbling experience to be given this chance to walk alongside and grow together with them.
At Hatch, we strive to build a safe space for our students to open up, share their stories and embrace their backgrounds and identities. This magic is made possible thanks to the collaborative and consistent hard work between various stakeholders in the individual's life. They include the students’ social workers, caseworkers, family members, mentors and company supervisors. Through this joint effort of love, we are able to touch on different aspects to develop the individual, empowering them to believe that they can reach for their dreams if they work hard for them.
In our meritocratic society, an individual’s worth is often based on the qualifications and skills they possess. In contrast, their intangible traits - such as character and values - are often overlooked. Our education system has always been anchored on the notion that everyone, given access to equal opportunities, could succeed if they worked hard enough. However, the playing field was uneven to begin with. Families who are more financially well-off are able to afford to enrol their children in various extracurricular classes to sharpen their edge, while those from lower-income families continuously see their chances moving further due to the lack of a head start.
In my opinion, upward mobility should be as simple as daring to reach for your dreams and working hard towards them. One constant trait observed from the young individuals would be their lack of confidence due to their circumstances. Hatch aims to tackle this head-on, with carefully designed programmes aimed to mitigate the obstacles in their pursuit. We often see so much potential and talent in these individuals. With some self-belief, they are definitely able to achieve great things. Once this magic is created, I like to believe that we have unlocked the potential of the individuals.
Ain’t no mountain high enough (SINGS!) for this student
From our second batch, we had a student who was stateless due to complex circumstances. At the age of 10, he dropped out of primary school as his family was unable to afford the school fees. Throughout his Digital Marketing training, he not only showed keen motivation and interest in learning, he was also always ready to lend his peers a helping hand. He had a natural flair for creativity and design, thus we decided to match him to a Digital Marketing agency for his internship. He was able to adapt to the company culture and fit in real quick. He was amicably nicknamed “boom-box” in office, as he was known to have a timely playlist for different moods of the day.
I remember fondly that there was one day where he shared all his amazing works for his various projects with me, and I felt like a proud-mama looking at all of them being displayed at restaurants. I even proudly shared with my friends that I knew the guy behind all the marketing collaterals. Of course, it goes without saying that many hours were put into practice to hone his skills. A result that was made possible from his grueling training to late nights spent working on his project with his batch mates and learning on his own through watching youtube tutorials on photoshop. Due to his motivation and hard work, with support from Hatch to gain access to his fields of interest, he was able to reach for his dreams. After his internship, he was converted to a full-time position at the digital marketing agency. Just like before, he still continues to share his work for his various projects, and never once was I unimpressed. On a side note, he has gotten his Singapore Citizenship and about to serve the nation soon! We are very excited for his journey ahead.
Supporting their journeys, even if they do not end up in the digital and design space
We had another individual from the same batch who had a keen interest in theatre. Nonetheless, he took up the opportunity to join our Hatch Immersive program and picked up Digital Marketing. After every class, he never failed to spend time on his theatre works. Throughout the program, he displayed determination in pushing himself beyond his comfort zone and put in his best effort for every work he was tasked to do. His company supervisor sang praises of him and enjoyed working with him very much. After completing the program, he realised that his heart was still with theatre.
He is currently pursuing his theatre dream and started his theatre education earlier this year. He was able to overcome the uncertainty and confidently pursue his dreams. I remembered sitting in during his mentor meetings, and his mentor was always encouraging him to believe in himself. During the internship, I was able to witness his ability to push through despite being in uncomfortable situations. I believe it was all these little acts that made him believe in his potential.
Discovering her passion and hidden strengths
Recently, one of our students took the leap of faith and started her journey with ITE Central’s Interactive Design course. She was initially studying accounting at ITE Central a couple of years ago, but was not interested and subsequently dropped out 6 months in. Going back 3 months before that, I recalled the first time meeting her during our pre-program activities where she was a quiet and reserved lady. She was always decked in her earphones and generally kept to herself. During one of the sharings, she expressed that her personal goals were to be more confident and communicate with her peers more effectively.
Since then, she consciously put in the time and effort to improve herself in those areas and was always open to feedback from the Hatch team. Slowly but surely, we saw her evolve into a more confident young lady who became more aware of her surroundings. Besides her personal growth, she realised her potential in User Interface, particularly coding. She naturally excelled due to her keen eye for detail, able to pick out details that most of her peers would miss out. That was when she realised her interest was in this area and after much consideration, she decided to resume her studies in ITE Central.
I was at ITE Central recently and had a meal with her. Unlike before, she was very chatty and eager to share about her classes and peers. I’m excited to see her journey in this digital sector and looking forward to her future endeavors!
I could go on and on about all our Hatch stories but I shall stop here for now. I am looking forward to more batches of students to come and be a part of their inspiring stories. On behalf of my team, I want to say a huge thank you to all of our community partners for their constant support for the team and our students. Together, let’s create a more inclusive society, empowering individuals from all pathways.
If there’s something I can challenge everyone to adopt, it would be this mindset shift:
Care enough to go beyond the superficial accomplishments you see, and you’d find the depth of potential that every individual has to offer.
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