A Group of women talking at the TikTok x Halogen Foundation Mentorship Programme Event

SINGAPORE: In a bid to foster personal and professional growth among students in Singapore, social media giant TikTok has joined forces with the Halogen Foundation to launch a comprehensive mentorship programme. The launch event, held at TikTok’s office on Nov 29, featured a fireside chat with Aaron Neo, the head of data science (monetisation integrity) at TikTok APAC.

Mr Neo shared insights from his career journey, highlighting the importance of mentors in navigating career transitions, especially in fields like data science, which may deviate from conventional career paths. “I don’t know about the schools today, but based on my personal experience, there are things taught in school that may not directly apply in the workplace. Therefore, there is a little bit learning curve where one needs to make a transition, and having a mentor who has undergone a similar journey can provide tips and tricks to navigate through these challenges,” Mr Neo explained.

The initiative, known as the TikTok x Halogen Foundation Mentorship Programme, is set to commence in Jan 2024, with the participation of 100 TikTok staff mentoring an equal number of students from institutions such as Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic, Yahoo News reports.

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The mentorship initiative aligns with the broader Mentoring SG movement, seeking to bridge the gap between academic learning and practical application. The programme will consist of tailored workshops covering essential skills such as interview techniques and resume writing and sessions where mentors will share insights on various roles within a tech company.

The first set of mentor-mentee pairs, totalling 50, will begin in January and run for six months. A second cohort of 50 pairs will commence in June. Alvin Tan, Singapore’s Minister of State for Culture, Community, and Youth, emphasised mentors’ critical role in shaping individuals during the launch event.

Students eagerly anticipate the programme, recognising the potential for guidance and learning. Chia Feng Jun, a Year 3 student at Singapore Polytechnic, expressed his goals for the coming year: “Making the most out of this mentorship opportunity will start with my goal for 2024 – continuing a career and exploring work-study programmes. I aim to journal my learnings and share my takeaways so that others can benefit, too.”

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Glenn Goh, a Year 2 student at Temasek Polytechnic, echoed this sentiment, emphasising mentors’ influential role in providing guidance and steering individuals toward wise decisions.

Teresa Tan, TikTok Singapore’s director of public policy, revealed that the social media company will collaborate with the Halogen Foundation to assess the initiative’s impact. The assessment will track progress among mentees across facets such as self-leadership, self-awareness, and self-efficacy. For mentors, the evaluation extends beyond competency to effective communication and sharing experiences.

The significance of mentorship in Singapore has been underscored by establishing the Mentoring SG movement. Led by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, Mentoring SG supports youths from diverse backgrounds through mentoring opportunities that build resilience, soft skills, and knowledge.

As Singapore continues to focus on mentorship initiatives, the TikTok x Halogen Foundation Mentorship Programme contributes to fostering personal and professional development among Singapore’s youth. /TISG