Helping students find their career paths

Not sure of your career path in life? Take heart, you are not alone.

He noticed that students were confused about their career options upon graduation. That confusion prompted Louis Puah to help young Singaporeans discover their interests and to guide them in discovering potential career options. 

Louis recalled: "My friend chose to drop out of JC after his first year. He went on to try a bunch of things, including starting a T-shirt company and a rock band. He eventually found his calling and is doing very well as a writer now.

"Despite having all the academic qualifications, I realised many do not really know what they want, or do not have the right set of skills by the time they graduate."

 
Within 2 years, Praxium has reached out to over 750 students through working with schools.
PHOTO CREDIT: LOUIS PUAH

So in October 2015, the 27-year-old communications graduate from the National University of Singapore started Praxium, a social enterprise that provides career discovery workshops and programmes for youths. 

Among those he helped are three students from Bedok View Secondary School. Louis and his staff guided the students in designing, developing and publishing a gaming app earlier this year.

"I hooked up with an IT expert and we met up with the students every two weeks over six months. They slowly learnt to do programming, art and design," recalled Louis. 

 
The students managed to gain early admissions into Temasek Polytechnic through their work on the app.
PHOTO CREDIT: LOUIS PUAH

Praxium offers three programmes of varying intensities, based on students' interest levels. These range from $130 to $960 per month.

"It's pretty close to tuition rates, but unlike tuition, the things we do can double or triple your chances of getting you to your dream school or job," he explained.  

The most intensive is the DeepDive programme, designed for youths who have a clear idea of the career path they wish to embark on. 


 
Some materials used during the programmes give students a taste of real-life lawyer struggles. 
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ONG TING JIA

"I spent about a year in America, where I noticed many kids have clear hobbies and were very motivated to further themselves in their field of interests. You do not really see this in Singapore.

"When we work with university or polytechnic students, they often tell us they wish they had access to the information provided by Praxium earlier. However, with secondary school or junior college students, their career path is not an immediate concern to them and they tend not to worry as much," said Louis. 

 
Louis tried to find ways to motivate indifferent youths to be more proactive in finding their own interests. 
PHOTO CREDIT: LOUIS PUAH

It is not always easy though, as it is important to build rapport with youths before they take career advice, said Louis. Praxium will be launching two new programmes this year for this reason. 

"We want to build relationships with students and listen to them talk about their passions without inhibitions," he explained.

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDITS: YOUTH.SG/ ONG TING JIA