An Apprentice at 15

DSC_0220-20170617-180629

Can you recall what you were doing at the tender age of 15? Most of us would be immersed in friends, studies, and co-curricular activities… but definitely not work. That is not the case for these 20 students from Serangoon Garden Secondary School, who got to experience the authentic working world by taking part in the Marina Bay Sands Apprenticeship, as part of the Heartware – Character and Citizenship Leadership Programme.

Some of these students may not hold any career ambitions for now, so this apprenticeship helps to broaden their horizons on possible future vocations, and allowed them to pick up life-long skills like effective tactful communication, and maintain professional conduct – all these are useful and necessary for leadership growth.

DSC09357-20170617-180640Ms Jess from Marina Bay Sands warmly welcomed the young students into the working world. 

DSC09790-20170617-180828Students were attached to mentors who guided them in guest and visitor services. 

DSC09920-20170617-180843The on-the-job training helped to nurture the students’ confidence, and taught them how to upkeep a professional attitude towards and amongst guests.

The two-weeks apprenticeship took place at the ArtScience Museum and Sands SkyPark, where the 20 students split into groups of 10 to separate venues. After a week, they switched venues and bring over skills that they have learned at one place to the other.

Check out the clip below to see how the Apprenticeship went!

As it was their first time ever working, all the students were doubtful of their abilities, and apprehensive about the experiences that awaited them. Yet shortly into the apprenticeship, their worries were unfounded as their mentors and supervisors were friendly and warm. There were so many lessons gained! Let Amalia and Kelly tell you more about it:

“…more appreciative of the workers’ hard work…”

A sharing by Siti Amalia Bte Saladin

Amalia-20170617-181847

“Before starting this apprenticeship, I had some expectations of myself which I would like to achieve, which in the end, I did. I expect myself to be more friendly, vocal and able to assist the guests when they need help with certain things. On the other hand, I also do have my concerns as it was the first time for me to be working & I would need to get some time to adapt myself with the new environment. I was actually afraid that I might not be able to do my work properly and also working with new people.

Nevertheless, I managed to do my work and was less afraid to work with other people. I truly enjoyed myself & I could sense that I am changing slowly for the better. I would also like to recall my first day of work at ArtScience Museum (ASM). I was having mixed feelings as I do not know how working life would be but after experiencing it myself, it truly needs hard work & dedication. Everyone there was very nice and polite which made me liked working at ASM. It was a bonus. Overall, my first day of work at ASM ended pretty well.

Through this apprenticeship, at Art Science Museum, I have learnt a lot. Not only have I grown to be more confident, I have also learnt new skills such as learning how to respond critically to the guests’ inquiries respectively. For instance, there was a time when a guest asked me for help. She asked me to help her son fold the paper template given. I actually tried to help but I did not know how to fold it either.

Hence, I went to find my mentor, and directed him to the guest. I was honestly satisfied as before I asked my mentor for help, I took the initiative to help as much as I could instead of revealing that I did not know. This was also a protocol we apprentices were advised in doing on our first day of apprenticeship. At this moment, I learnt that I need to always appear confident as to show assurance to the guests and seek to assist them by referring them to a more experienced worker.

In my point of view, motivational talks and workshops is not as effective or impactful as when you get to go through the experience yourself. Through my experience working here, I have learnt to be more appreciative of the workers’ hard work and effort in putting the best service for the guests. I learnt to show more initiative & respect. I believe that the new set of skills that I have learnt from my mentors will definitely benefit me a lot in the future, and help to shape my career and personality.

I would like to thank my mentors from both ArtScience Museum and SkyPark for guiding me through this journey. Without them, I would not have learnt as much as I have now. My time here as an apprentice has been enjoyable and fulfilling.”

“…always be mindful about the time we have…”

A sharing by Kelly Lai Si Yuan:

Kelly-20170617-181923

“In my first week here, I was attached to Sands Skypark. The night before the apprenticeship began, I was worried that I could not adapt to the new environment, especially as it is my first time working. However on the first day of work, everyone was really friendly and easy going. The supervisors and mentors would approach me first and introduce themselves to me. As a newbie, that made me feel comfortable and I was not as worried anymore.

At Sands SkyPark, our job was to greet the guests, and make sure that they have a ticket to access Level 56 where the observatory deck is. When we are deployed to the infinity pool, we had to give out towels to guests and wish them an enjoyable day. We also have to be active in collecting dirty towels around to keep the area clean.

It was really difficult in the afternoon as that is when the sun is especially bright and hot.  We were burning, and after work our face would be red. Some of us even got sunburnt but we ensured to put on as much sunblock as possible. It is still nice to see that all of us are nicely tanned! We also had some difficulties in communicating with foreigners because of accents or language barriers, so we tried hard to understand and interpret their needs by using some hand signals.

A memorable moment at the Sands SkyPark was the chance to see the Spiderman actor Tom Holland and his friends at the pool. We were really excited and happy to see him there.

I have learnt that we should always be mindful about the time we have, and make full use of it by working efficiently and prioritise things that are more important. Though we may feel doubtful at times, it is important too that we venture out of our comfort zones, to meet new people and take initiative in resolving problems.

I would like to thank Heartware Network for giving us this rare opportunity to work with people at 15 years old, and teaching us the skills and values to prepare us for work. Thank you to teachers and friends who have supported and encouraged me to be better, and lastly my deepest gratitude to our mentors at Sands SkyPark and ArtScience Museum who guided us along in this journey.”