As an experienced retail worker, Fazillah Binte Mohamed Taib excels at customer service and interacting with strangers.
But when the extroverted lady left her job in December 2020, she was "done" with the industry. Instead of staying in her comfort zone, she wanted to learn a new skill and explore a completely new career.
That's why she took up the challenge of the SGUnited Skills Programme, a 6-month full-time training programme for Singaporeans and PRs to acquire industry-relevant skills and improve their employability. Trainees can reskill for healthcare, tech light, or tech heavy roles, and receive a monthly training allowance of up to $1200.
Fazillah decided to play to her strengths in customer service and upskill as a Healthcare Assistant. Healthcare Assistants work with nurses to provide basic care for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, or community hospitals, and support their activities of daily living.
After registering online, Fazillah was contacted by a NTUC LearningHub course consultant, who invited her for a pre-programme briefing about the curriculum and structure.
Immediately after the briefing, she decisively submitted her application. By the next week, she was informed of her successful application and enrolment into the programme!
Fazillah's learning experience
As a trainee Healthcare Assistant, Fazillah took courses in three aspects of healthcare: hands-on skills, such as administering medication and recording patients' vital signs; theoretical knowledge about common health conditions; and soft skills, like counselling.
"I didn't know what to expect," she admitted. With no background in healthcare, she had to learn everything from scratch, including how to transfer patients from their beds and bathe them in a safe and comfortable way.
Thankfully, the trainers from NTUC LearningHub were patient with her. They were also strict when necessary – after all, adhering to step-by-step procedures was critical for both the patients' and Healthcare Assistants' safety.
After three intensive months of online and in-person lessons, Fazillah and her coursemates advanced to a 3-month practicum.
Fazillah was attached to the Women's Ward of KK Hospital, wherein she applied everything she learnt in her courses to real life.
Though she was armed with sufficient theoretical knowledge, she also had to adapt fast to the pace, work environment, and social setting. She admitted that the beginning was very overwhelming for her.
"I had moments where I felt like I really wanted to quit," she revealed.
But she pulled through with help and encouragement from her mentors and coursemates who were attached to the same ward. Being able to help the patients and nurses in the ward brought Fazillah a lot of satisfaction.
"The nurses are very busy – they have a lot of responsibilities. We are there to lighten their burden by doing the basic but essential tasks for the patients well-being, so that they can concentrate on the other pressing concerns," she explained. For instance, Fazillah took care of the patients' physical and daily living needs, and reassured their worries.
With a hectic course and practicum schedule, Fazillah couldn't work part time while upskilling. Thus, the monthly training allowance from NTUC LearningHub helped greatly to defray her daily expenses during those 6 months. She also used her $500 SkillsFuture Credit to offset her course fees.
Fazillah's new journey as a Healthcare Assistant
Fazillah completed the SGUnited Skills Programme on 14 October 2021 and is currently searching for a Healthcare Assistant job, preferably at a hospital in the west. She is also keeping an eye out for NTUC LearningHub's regular emails about job opportunities.
"I want to practice more of what I learnt in the hospital first and be better at it. Practise makes perfect!" she said.
"Learning never stops. You don't have to follow a timeline … do what makes you happy!"
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