Gift from Sino Suisse Capital establishes internship grant for NUS Social Work students working with at-risk youths

$486,000 internship grant to double student-interns’ per diem allowance

The Department of Social Work at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences has received a gift of $336,000 from Sino Suisse Capital Pte Ltd to establish the Sino Suisse Internship Grant. The gift is eligible for the government’s matching grant, bringing the total funding to S$486,000.

To commence from May 2021, the grant will be awarded to NUS social work student-interns at youth-at-risk agencies to help further defray their daily expenses by more than doubling their per diem allowance from a total of S$700 to S$1,500 for a 10-week internship.

Field practice – An integral aspect of social work education

The NUS Department of Social Work seeks to produce and develop social work professionals at both levels of frontline social work practice – addressing the needs of marginalised groups and individuals, as well as policy changes promoting social justice and inclusiveness. Over the years, social work graduates have faced increasing and complex demands with the evolving needs of the community. Therefore, field practice forms an integral aspect of social work education, providing students with the opportunity to gain practical hands-on experience and skills to better support the vulnerable in our community.

NUS social work students undergo compulsory field practice through internships at social service agencies every year. The Sino Suisse Internship Grant aims to encourage students to take up internships with at-risk youths at residential facilities or youth-related agencies by helping to defray their daily living expenses. The grant, which increases the existing internship allowance provided by the NUS Department of Social Work, will cover daily transportation and food expenses of about 12 students annually over the course of their internship.

Associate Professor Esther Goh, Head of NUS Department of Social Work said, “We are grateful for Sino Suisse’s gift in support of our social work field education. This contributes to our students’ competencies to effectively work with at-risk youths. One challenge in youth work is the fast-changing nature of the issues at-risk youths face and modes in reaching them. For instance, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, youth workers circumvented the limitation of face-to-face interactions with at-risk youths by pro-actively engaging them online. Such capacity to swiftly adapt is one of the important skills learnt through field education. With internships, students will also acquire real-life practice experience under the close guidance of experienced youth workers. They will also learn how to collaborate with different stakeholders to formulate solutions for complex problems that plagued the at-risk youths.”

Mr Albert Liu, CEO and Founding Partner, Sino Suisse Capital Pte Ltd, said, “At Sino Suisse, we always believe in giving back to the society and we are very excited to collaborate with NUS to establish the internship grant. While we could donate directly to the different youth-at-risk agencies, this grant helps to support the undergraduates from the NUS Department of Social Work over the course of their fieldwork placements at such agencies. We believe this is one of the many ways where we could provide a certain level of assurance to these passionate undergraduates that this great job of theirs has not gone unnoticed.  We hope that we can support more undergraduate training through this grant, and this would in the long run increase the number of vulnerable youths who are being reached out to and looked after through social work involvement. These are all in hopes of creating chances and opportunities for these youths who may have been disadvantaged in life as compared to their peers.”