Sunday 15 June 2014

National Youth Council to become national body championing youth affairs

National Youth Council to be restructured in bid to further engage youths
By Siau Ming En, TODAY, 13 Jun 2014

The National Youth Council (NYC) will be restructured into an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), announced MCCY minister Lawrence Wong today (June 13).

The NYC, currently a division under the People’s Association (PA), will be taken out of the association and Outward Bound Singapore (OBS), an adventure-based experiential learning group, will be part of the revamped NYC.

This is part of the ministry’s plan to redouble its efforts to engage youths, which was first revealed by Mr Wong during the debate on the President’s Address in parliament last month.

Speaking at the inaugural Singapore Youth Conference today, Mr Wong, who is also Chairman of the NYC, said the NYC will be a bridge that works with Government agencies, community partners and youth sector organisations to drive holistic youth development.

He added: “In short, NYC will be an autonomous outfit, overseeing the youth programmes in OBS and also the new Youth Corps.”

“This move will put NYC in a better position to be a national champion and a leading voice for youth affairs,” he said.

Set up in 1989, the NYC is the national coordinating body for youth affairs in Singapore and comprises of members from various Government miniseries, youth organisations, academic institutions, voluntary welfare organisations, media and private sector organisations.

The MCCY said the restructured NYC will be able to foster “robust collaboration” with partners in the private, people and public sectors to better support youth engagement in the community.

Some of its upcoming plans include partnerships with the Ministry of Education and schools through the Community and Youth Leadership schools programme.

It will also be reviewing youth hangout *SCAPE to study how the space can be enhanced to better support youth aspirations, particularly in specific areas of youth interests such as dance, music or media. Besides *SCAPE, more youth spaces and programmes will be planned to reach out to more youths.

The NYC will also continue its engagement of volunteers through the Youth Corps Singapore, which will begin the first phase of their training programme, involving close to 100 youths, in the middle of this month. Starting this month to December, the pilot batch of youth corps will participate in their first semester of service and will be taking up either local or overseas community projects.

A 13-member Advisory Committee, chaired by Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, has also been formed to provide guidance to Youth Corps Singapore, advise and assist in the designing of programmes and communication strategies, for instance.

Youth Corps Singapore was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during last year’s National Day Rally where it will match youth volunteers with critical community needs.

Pilot intake of youth corps to start training next week
By Siau Ming En, TODAY, 13 Jun 2014

Close to 100 youths have been chosen for the pilot intake of the Youth Corps Singapore and will begin the programme with a five-day residential orientation on Pulau Ubin next week, aimed at equipping them with leadership and project-management skills to support them in their respective causes.

The Youth Corps programme, first mooted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during last year’s National Day Rally, is intended to increase opportunities for youth to do projects in the community and match them to critical community needs.

The year-long programme will be broken up into two semesters of service, with an overseas or local community project in each semester.

The pilot intake of volunteers will begin their first semester of service between June and December this year.

Speaking to reporters at the Singapore Youth Conference yesterday, Mr Desmond Lee, Minister of State (National Development), said the intake had been chosen from more than 200 applicants.

“As a pilot programme, we want to have a more controlled environment so that we can ourselves feel our way forward, feel our way as to what the young people want, what community partners need,” said Mr Lee, who also chairs the 13-member Advisory Committee formed to provide guidance to the Youth Corps.

Among those in the pilot batch is 23-year-old Mohamed Abbas Sheyed Ebramsa, who, together with his friends, runs a social enterprise that helps low-income Malay housewives become financially independent.

“Youth Corps provides an avenue to really match these mentors to you, the skills you require; everything is there for you, the opportunity is there for you to grab and move on in life,” said the second-year business student at Nanyang Technological University.

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