Discovery. Diligence. Determination.
These three ‘Ds’ are the focus of I Am Talented (IAT), the flagship programme of Collective Futures. Birthed in 2011 as an ad-hoc programme targeted at Normal (Technical) and Normal (Academic) secondary school students, IAT seeks to empower participants to discover their potential talents, and explore non-academic pursuits.
Originally conceptualised and executed under the auspices of the United Nations Association of Singapore, IAT was piloted by David Hoe, Kwan Jin Yao, Lawrence Putra, Nurfadhilla Kamarul, Melvin Tay and Maurice Goh. The group, who met through various connections and community projects, believes fervently in the concept of ‘paying it forward’. Collectively, they are individuals with a heart for the community, who have gone through various life obstacles in pursuit of their dreams.
A Decade-Long Journey
In 2015, the IAT committee embarked on a long-term collaboration with the Central Singapore CDC, as part of a broader goal of providing youths in Singapore with opportunities for self-discovery. These opportunities come in the form of participation in skills-based workshops and sharing sessions. The programme also aims to inspire youths towards attaining excellence in both non-academic and academic pursuits.
The initial 2011 instalment featuring a day-long programme with four workshops catering to a hundred-odd participants transformed into a wider-scale community-driven social empowerment initiative for approximately 300 secondary school students. It is now an annual multi-sessional programme comprising 12-16 various workshops and a keynote session to provide an immersive journey of inspiration to participants.
Connecting the 3Ps
The role of the 3P (public, private, and people) sectors are critical in advancing our endeavours to uplift the underprivileged. The success of IAT programming hinges on our public and people sector partners (including the likes of Central Singapore CDC, the Institute of Technical Education, and various schools) coordinating participation and operations. Our private sector partners play an integral role in contributing their expertise and man-hours in executing skills workshops which are engaging for participants, and relevant for our future.
In the past and presently, IAT is made possible with a wide range of partners (listed in no particular order or hierarchy).
Reinventing IAT for the Future
From 2011-2015, IAT programming focused on non-academic skillsets such as broadcast journalism, photography, dance, public speaking, and fashion design. In line with the increased reliance on a technology-enabled economy, contemporary IAT programming now features workshops on mobile game design and building, web programming, stop-motion photography and videography, and entrepreneurship. Each IAT run now culminates in a show-and-tell finale, where the students will showcase products of their hard work from the various workshops.
The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the need to constantly adapt to a VUCA world and thrive amidst adversity. Leveraging the strengths of the flagship IAT programme, the committee began to pursue new modalities of community empowerment, including IATx and I Am Curious (IAC). These will continue to give underprivileged youth opportunities to glean future-forward skills and stay relevant to the needs of our brave new world.