Education has never been more important than today, especially in the global knowledge economy. Being able to pick up new skills makes one adaptable to economic headwinds and transformative technologies. For many, such as Khairilanwar Baharudin, a recipient of the Scheme, it was not only beneficial – it reaffirmed his belief in lifelong learning.
Khairilanwar, who is currently working at Gojek Singapore, had chosen to take up a Master of Science in International Management and Human Resource Management at Aventis School of Management. He shared how the scheme was helpful to him at a personal and professional level.
“Through the sponsorship, I was able to meet like-minded classmates and forge great friendships. In terms of work, I managed to progress from a purely consulting role to that of an internal role in human resource, which has been a lifelong dream,” he said.
“My current employer recognises my career aspiration, which includes my desire to upgrade myself through the SAFRA Education Scheme, and has given me the opportunity these past months to be involved in strategic and regional projects.”
The scheme was introduced in 1994 with the aim of providing opportunities for SAFRA Members to upgrade themselves on the education front. Over the years, SAFRA has partnered with various educational institutions to offer diploma, advanced diploma and degree sponsorships to its members. Some of the institutions participating in the scheme include the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), SIM Global Education, PSB Academy, Kaplan Higher Education Institute, as well as Aventis School of Management.
For Jet Tay, who took up a part-time degree in Information Technology and Business at UniSIM (now SUSS) in 2016, the scheme brought about a big, positive change in his life. On top of learning new skills, he said it is also an endorsement for him at the professional level.
One of the key highlights of the scheme is that it is bond-free, pointed out Jethro Xu, who received sponsorship from the scheme and did a Bachelor in English Language and Literature at UniSIM in 2010. “Because of the sponsorship, not only did I graduate without the burden of a loan, I built up some savings. This allowed me to pick career paths and opportunities that I had a passion for rather than having to pick the highest-paying job, or the first job which came along, just for the money,” he explained.
Another big plus point about the scheme was that the application process was easy, shared Xu, a senior marketing manager at Lithan Academy. “Being 20 at the time, it was my first time facing a panel of accomplished professionals far richer than me in experience! I was so anxious, I stumbled over some of the questions and was a nervous wreck,” he said.
“But I think, ultimately, I wore my heart on my sleeve and was earnest, sincere and almost brutally candid when answering their questions. That, I believe, was the deciding factor,” he said, looking back.
Indeed, aspiring applicants simply need to complete an application form from the respective institutions of choice and attach the necessary supporting documents for submission. Applicants also need to have completed full-time National Service and be a valid SAFRA Ordinary A or Ordinary B Member.
Being a recipient of the scheme can be truly life-changing, Khairilanwar said. “It’s a journey you won’t regret. Not only do you gain knowledge, but you will also forge great friendships.” He added that prospective applicants of the scheme should adopt the right mindset at the outset.
Xu averred: “Go into it for the right reasons. Never pursue studies for the sole purpose of obtaining a certificate, or with the intention of furthering your career. Because if you don’t end up achieving those goals, you’d have wasted your time and energy.
“Find something you enjoy, because as clichéd as it sounds, part of furthering your studies is the journey. You want to be able to enjoy that process.”
Tay also offers advice for SAFRA Members who are considering the scheme. “Inspire the selection team with your ambitions and goals in life,” he said. “I believe they will seriously consider your application.”
Khairilanwar adds: “This scheme has helped recipients to achieve their dreams of higher education as well as attaining better career trajectories. Having experienced it, I am definitely keen on paying it forward as a volunteer. Through this, I can make an impact to fellow SAFRA Members.”
For Jethro Xu, SAFRA’s Education Scheme trumped other scholarship programmes in the market as it is bond-free. To find out more about the SAFRA Education Scheme, visit www.safra.sg/education. Applications for the upcoming intake will close on 30 Sep 2019.