IMPACT 0554: EMPOWERING LOWER WAGE WORKERS TO CLIMB THE CORPORATE LADDER
Youth Action Challenge (YAC) is a platform for youth to provide solutions that tackle the issues we are concerned about. Since October 2021, over 80 teams and more than 310 youths have undertaken the YAC Season 3 journey.
Yasmin Seah, 18, is a J2 student studying at Victoria Junior College (VJC). Together with her friends, they came together and took part in YAC Season 3 under Wage Warriors, as a response to their passion about helping lower wage workers. Today she shares more about what they plan to do at Wage Warriors!
What was your role within your YAC project?
I was in charge of the budget for our project. Basically, I had to look up what services we would need to utilise to bring our project to life and how much it would cost. I made sure that our wild ideas were feasible financially and could actually be carried out within our limited budget.
What motivated you to join YAC?
I saw all my peers starting their own projects to make an impact on our society and I really wanted to start one myself but I just didn’t know where to start. VJC’s teachers are always sending us emails on scholarships and volunteering opportunities, and when I saw the email on YAC, I thought it was the perfect chance for me to make my mark on society and evoke change. Thankfully, I had friends who were just as eager to embark on this project with me, and we quickly formed a group and joined together.
Can you share with us your experience with your YAC project?
I had never done anything like this before, and although I had Project Work (PW) for A levels, this was on a whole other level. While PW could be as “out there” as we wanted it to be as it did not have to be carried out, we had to keep feasibility in mind for YAC. We also had to juggle our JC workload at the same time, and to be honest, it was hard forking out the time to attend the Zoom training sessions every other Saturday.
I am so glad, however, that we pushed through, because some of these workshops were really helpful in giving us direction and helping us understand how to improve our project. Most of all, the people made the YAC experience worth it. As I was working with friends, I felt comfortable voicing my opinions and critique. My group mates really made the journey so much fun despite the stress and disagreements.
What are some challenges you faced while working on your YAC project?
In the final week leading up to the Open Mic pitch, we were supposed to meet a pitching coach to receive feedback on our presentation. We had arranged it so that we had a buffer to make changes before slides submission. However, the coach was not feeling well on the day we were set to meet her. Our meeting was postponed to the day of slides submission, which meant that it would be a mad rush to make changes.
However, life had different plans for us. The coach fell violently ill on the postponed date, and was in the A&E. In the end, we met her three days before our final Open Mic, and had to submit the slides without having received any feedback. The coach was immensely helpful though, and managed to help us make our pitch the best it could be. We also managed to submit an updated set of slides after explaining our situation, so it all worked out in the end.
Could you share more on how your project has a positive impact?
Our project, Wage Warriors, is an improved website aimed at lower wage workers (LWWs) to find out more about the Progressive Wage Model (PWM). Currently, the Ministry of Manpower’s website on the PWM, while comprehensive, is extremely confusing. The MOM website is also aimed at employers, so the workers themselves do not have easy access to information regarding the PWM, and how they can climb up the ladder to earn higher incomes.
Our new website is simple and easy to understand, as well as directed to the workers’ specific position and situation. This allows workers to have a platform where they can find out steps they can take to reach the next rung on the wage ladder. This empowers our LWWs to improve their situations through their own efforts, which aligns with our government’s workfare policies.
Were there any key takeaways or learning points from your time with YAC?
YAC helped me better understand what it takes to get a business off the ground. I never realised how much goes on backstage, especially having to ensure there’s enough finances to sustain the project. I also learnt to liaise with organisations professionally, as well as the etiquette that should be observed when contacting them.
YAC also opened my eyes to the plight of our lower wage workers. Although we see them every day, even working in our schools, we never really knew what they were going through. YAC allowed me to stop and take the time to interact with them and listen to their stories in order to try and address their issues.