Introduction

While recognizing that a lot of informal learning and skills development takes place through their various CCAs, the University is encouraging halls of residence to actively implement structured learning programs that add even more value to the educational experience of NUS students.

Currently, the Faculties/Schools are best-placed and best-resourced to ensure the future readiness of NUS students in terms of academic training. Thus, rather than trying to contribute to academic training via offering credit-bearing modules, Sheares Hall aims to complement the good work of the Faculties/Schools by value-adding to the future readiness of Shearites through cultivating work attributes and imparting additional skillsets that will stand them in good stead when they enter the workforce. This is the Sheares Hall Future Ready Initiative or SFI for short. It is our hope that Sheares Hall will become synonymous with the “Future Ready” tag in time to come.

What the workplace of the future will look like cannot be accurately forecasted, but it is our belief that there are work attributes that will stand a worker in good stead and primed to make an impact across epochs regardless of the specific vocation he/she is in. The focus of SFI at this point in time is on Shearites being diligent, responsible, honourable, daring, resilient, and helpful.

The first three attributes of being diligent, responsible, and honourable can be described as first-order, in the sense that they enable the worker to entrench himself/herself as a valued member of the organization. The second three attributes of daring, resilient, and helpful are second-order, in the sense that they enable the worker to make an impact on the organization and its functioning. While there is overlap, first-order attributes are generally pre-requisite to second-order attributes. For instance, a worker who is daring (e.g., in terms of proposing out-of-the-box solutions) is more likely to be listened to if he/she has shown himself/herself to be diligent, responsible, and honourable. In similar fashion, being helpful (i.e., having a mindset of being others-oriented) is likely to fashion more effective collaborations if the person being helped does not have to question the honourability of the helping person.

While the abovementioned DRHDRH attributes are important for being future-ready, possessing skill-sets outside of the classroom can further elevate future readiness. A worker who possesses the DRHDRH attributes and who can write good minutes or plan budgets, for instance, is always a welcome addition to any working group. At a more general level, a worker who also has first-aid skills in addition to the DRHDRH attributes is an asset to any organization.

In terms of operationalization, SFI conceptualizes structured learning as operating at two levels.

SFI 1

Level 1 of SFI (or SFI1) is the co-curricular level and works through the CCAs in the hall.

SFI1 targets to bring to bear the DRHDRH attributes listed above. CCAs are excellent grounds to learn, practice, and internalize these attributes. SFI1 is mostly already in place. This is because the hall’s CCAs – which can broadly be categorized into Committee, Sports, and Cultural groupings – have been in existence and functioning well for a long time.

We adopt the view that even sports and cultural training can provide educational value-add, as such training can cultivate capabilities that extend beyond the domain – in sports, for instance, training a player to read the game better can extend towards greater situational awareness on the general level, which in turn can lead to better anticipation and response preparedness.

SFI 2

Level 2 of SFI (or SFI2) is the extra-curricular level and works not only through but also beyond the CCAs in the hall. SFI2 is thus conceptualized as extra-curricular – it is extra to both the academic curriculum and the hall’s CCAs. As extra-curricular, SFI2 seeks to add a robust layer of knowledge and skills that are generically useful in the future workplace, which in turn will make Shearites even more competitive, more adaptable, and thus more sought-after and more likely to succeed in their chosen future workplace.

SFI2 adopts an e3 component approach to future readiness; specifically, SFI2 aims to provide structured learning that will:

The primary vehicle of delivery in SFI2 is the modulet. The modulet draws from the typical NUS module, with the exception that it takes place over a shorter period of time (between 2 to 4 weeks) rather than the full semester of 13 weeks. Like a module, there will be contact time (a target if 3 hours per week). A modulet will have its own specified learning outcomes, which in turn will direct what it covers, the pedagogies it adopts, and any relevant assignments/assessments needed. As many of these modulets target future-readiness and the likely requirements of the workplace, we will seek inputs from relevant experts (e.g., HR trainers) on what should be covered.