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From F&B To Eldercare: A Career Switch Fuelled By Compassion

Sometimes, there is no greater reward than knowing your help made a difference in the lives of others. That is the motivation that drives NTUC LearningHub trainee Phillip Lim, who chose to follow his passion and upskill to provide a helping hand to the community that needed it most – the elderly.

“Due to the nature of the food and beverage (F&B) businesses I was in, I always felt that my job was very profit-driven and lacked the ‘social’ element,” said Phillip Lim. With over 20 years of experience in the industry, the 52-year-old’s resume features leadership and management roles in multinational F&B companies, including Chief Operating Officer at a major fast-food chain.

But the cold, corporate F&B world was all about top-line growth and profitability. The highly demanding and unstable nature of the industry had taken its toll, and Phillip yearned for a change.

If his time spent volunteering for over 10 years at St. Andrew Community Hospital Medical Services, and 4 years with the Home Team Prison Befriending Programme serves as any indication, Phillip has a big heart for the lonely and frail who need a listening ear. When the opportunity arose, he made the leap towards the eldercare social services sector and never looked back!

A New Career calls for New Competencies

“When I first started out, I was tasked to look after a large group of seniors, ensuring that the elders referred to our care were matched with the best possible social service partners to get the support that they needed,” described Phillip about his first foray into social services at the Agency for Integrated Care.

Initially, connecting with seniors proved to be a challenge. “I wasn’t able to understand why some of the elders behaved and communicated in a certain way, and I was a little baffled at their unique actions and characteristics. Slowly, I came to understand them much better and I began building strong bonds with many of them,” Phillip reflected.

After moving on to his current role as a Seniors Day Care Centre Manager at NTUC Health, he realised that, despite being in the same sector as his previous job, this new role needed him to get even more personal with the elders at the centre.

“I mainly interact with elderlies who have no one to care for them during the day at home. I ensure they are active and healthy under my care so that they are able to age gracefully in good health,” he said. This different job scope made Phillip see the need to deepen his skill set, which drove him to take up several courses at NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB)!

Upskilling Himself to Better Help Others

Upgrading his skills had an immediate positive impact on his daily life and work. After completing WSQ Certificate in Displaying Critical Thinking and Analytical Thinking, Phillip found himself better able to understand the unique behaviour of the elderly, something he struggled with when he first started.

“I am able to empathise with their actions and understand their thinking processes more effectively,” shared Phillip. “I am also better equipped to stay calm and keep my cool if any incident or unexpected situation occurs, due to the critical thinking techniques I acquired from the course.”

“If I had not attended the WSQ courses with NTUC LHUB, I wouldn’t be fully equipped with the skills to provide the best care for the elderly that I am proud to say I am able to now.”

Phillip subsequently came across NTUC LHUB’s WSQ Certificate in Community & Social Services (Seniors Services and Integrated care) courses while scrolling through Facebook, and was inspired to enrol to carry out his job more efficiently. The WSQ Certificate required learners to take up 2 core and 2 elective modules, but Phillip went the extra mile and took 3 electives instead, gaining more in-depth knowledge to better perform his responsibilities.

“One skill I have learnt from the courses that I utilise every day is safely assisting the transferring of the elderly. I learnt the proper technique to move elders safely without hurting them or myself. Another skill I picked up is incident and report writing in the eldercare setting, where I am now able to write up properly structured incident reports at work,” he said.

Working from the Heart

Phillip encounters elders who are in many different kinds of situations. He shows incredible compassion to help others in any way he can, from saving an elderly lady with dementia from an abusive family, to investing in upgrading himself just to provide them with better care.

“My drive to help the elderly convinces me that I’m able to contribute more to this sector by applying and continuously upgrading my managerial and leadership knowledge,” said Phillip confidently. “Even though my current job yields substantially less compared to my past corporate positions, I have absolutely no regrets in the career switch as this is my passion and I enjoy being in this line of work.”

Without a doubt, Phillip’s learning journey is far from over, and he already has a list of NTUC LHUB courses he plans to pursue if time permits.

“I would like to take all the remaining WSQ courses powered by Wiley, including WSQ Conduct Presentation to Senior Management, WSQ Participate in Negotiations, WSQ Present Information and WSQ Articulate & Discuss Ideas. I am also looking to boost my work productivity by taking Microsoft Office-related courses, as that will certainly bring my outdated Microsoft Office skills to the next level,” mentioned Phillip.

“The holistic wellbeing of the elderly are of utmost importance to me. Therefore, lifelong learning is so beneficial to me now, more than ever,” he said. “The smiles on the faces of the elders encourages me to never stop contributing my knowledge and skills to the eldercare social services sector. Here is where I can truly offer my very best without expectations of rewards or returns!”

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