The secret to being employable – despite an economic downturn

DESPITE a tumultuous year that saw the nation going into various phases of lockdowns and unemployment rates hitting an all-time high, Taylor’s University found that 9.9 out of 10 of its graduates were employed within six months of graduation, according to a Ministry of Higher Education Tracer Study conducted in 2020.

The university’s deputy vice chancellor and chief academic officer Prof Dr Pradeep Nair believes that students’ early exposure to skills that are much needed in the workplace, in an environment that encourages creativity and innovation, has given them the advantage upon graduation.

“Looking at the job market now, I believe graduates will realise that a certificate and the ‘hardware’ aspect of knowledge and skills are not enough to get you a job. They will need soft skills, creativity, business acumen, networks and an entrepreneurial edge to not only land the career they desire, but to carve a path for themselves and start their own organisations and businesses, if they so choose, ” says Prof Pradeep.

To facilitate students acquiring these skills, the university has curated a “Taylor’sphere” ecosystem with the aim to nurture students’ intellectual, mental and emotional growth, in an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration.

All Taylor's students take up social innovation modules and have the opportunity to receive guidance from ideation and funding to product commercialisation.All Taylor’s students take up social innovation modules and have the opportunity to receive guidance from ideation and funding to product commercialisation.

In the ecosystem, students will have the benefit of attending life skills modules conducted by specialised trainers, work on real-life industry projects, attend their classes in hybrid mode, and mix and match their subjects for broad based learning, among others.

Notably, every student will also take up a social innovation module to find solutions to real-world problems, have the opportunity to realise their entrepreneurial dreams, and receive guidance with ideation, prototyping, funding and product commercialisation under the mentorship of Taylor’s Me.reka Makerspace (TMM), Bizpod and Research & Enterprise.

Final-year students also pursue cross-faculty projects and will be able to utilise labs or studios across the university, mimicking the collaborative way of working across departments in the industry.

Bernard Yap with his umbrella borrowing machine, a product he created with the guidance and tools of Taylor's Me.reka Makerspace.Bernard Yap with his umbrella borrowing machine, a product he created with the guidance and tools of Taylor’s Me.reka Makerspace.

Bernard Yap Kah Huan, 19, is one such student who found himself immersed in Taylor’sphere.

Upon embarking on the American Degree Transfer Programme in Taylor’s University, he quickly integrated into the Maker community at Taylor’s, dabbling in many projects such as creating a learning device to help underprivileged children access online education, and building an “umbrella borrowing” machine.

Yap’s inspiration for the latter came when he received a pink umbrella from a stranger on a rainy day.

“The next day, it was raining heavily when I saw an old man waiting to cross the road. I rolled down my window and passed him that same pink umbrella from my car and that made me really happy!” he says.

Realising the need for umbrellas on-the-go, Yap approached TMM to help him realise his idea.

“TMM provided me the tools and space to build my umbrella machine. They also gave me guidance and suggestions when I encountered technical problems. This is useful, because some problems are so specific, you can’t even Google them.

“TMM has wood cutters, 3D printers and laser cutters, which are not easily available elsewhere – and I get to use these for free, ” adds Yap.

He also believes that having such skills and being in the right environment has put him in good stead for employment, or starting his own business.

“Network and environment are definitely important – you have more chances at succeeding at your projects, as more possibilities are open to you. If you are doing everything alone, you might not be able to solve many problems, ” says Yap.

Are you ready to secure your future? What’s your gameplan? Join Taylor’s Digital Open Day on March 6,7, 13 and 14 by visiting

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