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Internships to help youths extend volunteerism beyond school

The scheme aims to get youths to develop a greater affinity for the community and gain practical life experiences outside of school.

SINGAPORE: Starting Friday (Aug 15), youths aged 17 and above in uniformed groups can apply for a full-time internship under the new National Youth Internship Programme.

The scheme, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the National Youth Council, aims to get youths to develop a greater affinity for the community through service learning, arts and sports, and gain practical life experiences outside of school.

Interns will receive a monthly stipend – capped at S$480 per month – which will be subsidised up to 80 per cent by the National Youth Fund. The remaining 20 per cent will be funded by the respective uniformed groups or community organisations.

While Youth Corps Singapore is targeted at those aged 15 to 35, mainly nominated by youth organisations and institutes of higher learning, the National Youth Internship Programme is aimed at those who will be completing their secondary education this year.

Speaking at a camp for students from the uniformed groups on Friday, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong explained: "We think there is a bit of a gap in between the schools and Youth Corps. We have gotten feedback from young people. They want to do more to serve and to find some programmes and pathways to do it in a meaningful way.”

"Hopefully we can provide more opportunities and pathways to match young people who have an interest to serve in the community. We match them to the right community organisations and they can serve a meaningful internship programme within the community itself," he added. 

The pilot intake will have places for up to 60 youths from the nine uniformed groups, such as the Girl Guides and the National Cadet Corps. They will first undergo an induction programme at Outward Bound Singapore, before starting their internships with their respective uniformed groups for a period of two to six months, starting January 2015. Each internship will last for a period of two to six months, from January next year (2015), and the youths will be paid a monthly allowance.

Nurul Hafizzah Mohd Shah, a cadet leader trainer at the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps said: "I think it is a good opportunity for me to further stretch my leadership role. Right now, I am a cadet lieutenant, so what I do is I lead my cadets to be a better leader. With this internship, I hope to learn more and hopefully, I will be posted to SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force), where I can learn more about how firefighters do their jobs and the day-to-day operations, such as experiencing real fire cases and their rescue missions.”

This internship programme will eventually be offered to other community and youth organisations, including those in arts and sports.