Two ITE graduates are working hard to make people better
These ITE graduates are working hard to help make people better
A senior staff nurse in the intensive care unit at National University Hospital, Mr Suresh Rajasekaram, 32, is on the front-line in the battle against Covid-19.
He says he would never have envisioned himself working as a nurse back in his secondary school days.
When he did not make the cut to enter Secondary 5 in 2004, Mr Suresh gave up on school and took up odd jobs and mixed with bad company.
His sister, who is three years older, constantly encouraged him to pick a course in the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and continue studying.
Mr Suresh told The New Paper: "Back then, the stigma (of going to) ITE was much stronger and I was reluctant to return to school. My sister was persistent and laid out every course that I was eligible to join in ITE."
He eventually took up a Nitec in Nursing at ITE College East, and promised his mother and the department head, Mr Tay Wei Sern, that he would work hard and do his best.
During his clinical attachments, Mr Suresh realised that he wanted to render care and affection to vulnerable strangers. It made him want to excel and make an impact.
He graduated among the top five per cent in his cohort and progressed to Ngee Ann Polytechnic, then directly into the second year of the National University of Singapore's nursing undergraduate course.
Today, as a front-line worker, he takes pride in his work as he cares for Covid-19 patients.
For Mr Max Ong, the desire to help differently abled people inspired him to start Project Differently-abled UpSkill Training (DUST), an initiative that aims to teach low-code platforms - software that simplifies the programming process to create websites.
When businesses rushed to move online due to Covid-19, the 30-year-old realised that differently abled people did not have the resources or skills to do so.
Mr Ong, who now works as a chief data scientist at Codesurance, said: "Now that I have the expertise and resources, I would like to give back to society in a more direct manner. What better way to do so than to impart technical knowledge."
The ITE College East Nitec in Infocomm Technology (ICT) alumnus was inspired by his customer, Mr Keegen Lee, who has colour blindness and came up with Project DUST together with him.
Their project is funded by the National Youth Council's Young ChangeMakers grant, a scheme that supports youth-initiated projects.
The duo have been working alongside the Disabled People's Association Singapore (DPA) to offer this learning opportunity to their beneficiaries.
Mr Ong said: "This project was initially aimed at differently abled people who are not visually impaired and are high-functioning.
"However, after running a trial training session with DPA, we are exploring options to help people who are visually impaired or have hearing disabilities as well."
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