On Hari Raya Haji which has just passed, Singaporeans were once again met with the news that we would undergo Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) again. This news would greatly impact the businesses of F&B operators, gym and studio owners and many Singaporeans from various walks of life. Our young PMEs and fresh graduates are another specific group that have been particularly affected by Covid.
Initially, we thought Covid would be a short battle. Unfortunately, it has spanned into a long drawn one and Singaporeans are increasingly feeling the pandemic fever. We spoke to some young people recently and here’s what they had to say…
The pandemic has affected internship opportunities
Clara, who is graduating in 2022, said her peers remain hopeful about job prospects next year. However, the internships offered to students come with some limitations.
“For example, the F&B sector has seen major changes due to dine-in restrictions, hence we will no longer get the full experience or get to learn all aspects of the business. I chose to leave a previous internship opportunity with a catering company ahead of time due to this reason. I felt like I didn’t get to learn what I initially wanted to.”
When we asked her opinion on how the Government could help combat these issues, she said,
“Offer students part-time internships. That way, we get to try out more internships while studying and find out where our interests really are. We don’t have that many six months to try out a full internship unless we choose to take a Leave of Absence from school and hence graduate later.”
Difficult to build relationships with mentors and receive guidance
Allison, a young PME who just started a new job in the midst of the pandemic, said it has been hard to build rapport with superiors and colleagues given the WFH situation.
“I have not seen my colleagues since I’ve started work recently. It is challenging for everything to be communicated online. Hence, it is harder to learn the ropes and to get to know people. It’s also easy to feel alienated and it’s tougher to receive guidance from superiors.”
We can imagine that it’s much harder to build relationships and become friends with colleagues without face-to-face interaction. In fact, some superiors may take advantage of the WFH situation to be more distant and nonchalant towards new hires and younger PMEs.
Indeed, we have to be careful about such instances happening as the workforce is on a WFH default. Our young hires are also extra susceptible to such situations since they lack experience. There is a need to develop more accountability and help at the workplace for our young PMEs.
There’s no foolproof solution to these problems but we can continually sound out these issues to the Government. Currently, there is free career coaching provided by NTUC’s e2i and perhaps an official virtual mentorship programme can be set up for our young PMEs in future. Our younger PMEs can also use their tech skills to their advantage and seek to work remotely for global positions.