SINGAPORE – 3 October 2019 – Students from Kaplan in Singapore had the opportunity to intern with some of Singapore’s most interesting start-ups. Five shortlisted students and start-up companies, part of a community at the co-working establishment The Working Capitol, jointly worked on ideas over three months and convinced a panel of judges, which included Kaplan management as well as a representative from its Industry Advisory Board, and The Working Capitol. iWonder Pte Ltd (winner) and LOPELAB (runner-up), brought home prize money of S$40,000 and S$20,000 respectively at the Kaplan Kickstart Challenge Finale, a pitch session which took place last Friday at The Working Capitol.
The Kaplan Kickstart Challenge is Kaplan’s latest initiative to equip students with employment-ready skillsets through real-life experiences. The inaugural edition saw an exclusive partnership with The Working Capitol to match shortlisted Kaplan students with their start-ups to develop and pitch business ideas.
The programme, held from 8 July to 27 September 2019, offered students an internship opportunity for three months at start-up companies from various industries, from healthcare to digital content and recruitment. In addition to learning and assisting with day-to-day work with the start-ups, the students had the opportunities to contribute to the implementation of a business idea. They were required to be a part of the presentation team to pitch the idea at the Kaplan Kickstart Challenge Finale.
“The Kickstart Challenge is designed to help Kaplan students become more employable when they graduate. We are pleased to see that our students have gone the extra mile and enjoyed the journey — from stepping up to the challenge of trying something beyond their programmes, to doing their best to not just learn on the job, but also contributing back with knowledge learnt from school. The Working Capitol’s generosity in providing access for Kaplan students to its vibrant and diverse community has been key to bringing this initiative to life,” said Khoo Yu Hung, Director, Marketing and Communications of Kaplan in Singapore.
“Having an internship programme within The Working Capitol is an initiative we’ve always set our sights on; our startups will always require creative and ambitious talent, and we get to share our vision of a sustainable urban future with the youths of Singapore. Kaplan’s range of programmes are geared towards flexible learning, which we believe is the future of education. We are honoured to come onboard and hope this collaboration provided Kaplan students the experience and environment to springboard their careers,” added Saranta Gattie, CEO and Co-Founder of The Working Capitol.
The winner, iWonder, is a streaming video service that allows subscribers to watch a large variety of award-winning documentaries and current affairs programmes. LOPELAB, the runner-up, is an innovative design studio that designs different kinds of events or temporary structures for public spaces that stimulate social interaction and create collective experiences.
Beyond the prize money, students who took part in the Challenge took back valuable insights and opportunities towards their dream careers.
Shaun Tan, 23, who is currently studying a Bachelor in Business Studies in Management with University College Dublin at Kaplan, received a certificate for being the Kickstart Challenge’s Best Intern. He has secured the opportunity to extend his internship at Cavago. “I was excited to be matched with a start-up that is in a disruptive industry that has yet to be fully explored. I had to cope with time management when I started. However, through the internship, I am glad to have made good friends with the team, received critical and constructive feedback, and overcame the challenges along the way,” he said.
Taking the challenge to try an industry out of her existing course was an opportunity that Shiyamielah Kesavan Pillai, 28, a student pursuing a Kaplan Diploma in Hospitality Services and Events Operations, was excited to grab. Her academic and work background in events management proved to be useful even as she interned in Vista Health. “The journey was unexpected but great — even though I was an intern, my colleagues and managers valued my opinions and I was able to give back to the company,” she said. Her stint in a start-up environment has made her consider her options more carefully after graduating. “The learning opportunities in taking up different internships, instead of starting a new job immediately, is one of my considerations now,” Shiya added.
With over 300 degree and 25 diploma programmes, Kaplan in Singapore is focused on equipping students with the skillsets for employment and to meet evolving industry needs. One of its initiatives was to set up six Kaplan Industry Advisory Boards in 2016, involving over 40 senior executives and entrepreneurs from Multinational Companies, Small & Medium Enterprises and Start-ups. Collectively, they provide perspectives on the latest industry trends to align programmes offered at Kaplan to meet Singapore’s labour needs, to prepare graduates to be relevant to industry and career-ready.
“The job market today has gotten a lot harder to get a foothold in. Initiatives like The Kaplan Kickstart Challenge really fit into what we have been trying to do. We are focusing so much more on, other than giving students the education, equipping them with employable skills and having them apply what they learnt in the classroom to a real-world scenario. I’m glad that the Challenge is off on a good start and I hope more companies and our students will benefit from future editions of this programme,” said Associate Professor Rhys Johnson, Chief Operating Officer and Provost of Kaplan in Singapore.