On The Fast Track: From OBS Instructor and Beyond
Being an OBS Instructor has its perks. Be it the peace of nature, the camaraderie between colleagues, or the chance to shape someone’s life, OBS gives each Instructor a unique working environment replicated nowhere else.
But what about career progression?
At OBS, the world is their classroom - harnessing the power of the outdoors to inspire others, offering Instructors the chance to grow and learn beyond just their roles as Instructors.
Discover the diverse opportunities for career progression of being an instructor, including both lateral growth and vertical promotions within the ministry, with three stories from three instructors - Nadiah, Chung Tai, and Lutfi.
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A Passion for Developing Others
In her 13 years with OBS (she joined in 2006!), Nadiah has grown from strength to strength - starting off as an Instructor, she gradually rose up the ranks, becoming the Lead Training Consultant she is today.
Driven by her love for interacting with kids as an Instructor, her passion for developing kids and building their resilience pushed her to go up one level to develop fellow Instructors as well.
“I was really keen in doing training or coaching work,” shares Nadiah.
“And, becoming a team manager of a few instructors really helped prepare for my role today. Mentoring different instructors through their journeys allowed me to see how different people respond to the same struggles.”
Currently working together with the Capability Development Department to train fresh instructors, she’s now responsible for equipping them with outdoor knowledge to be experts out in the field - a far cry from training students in outdoor skills. But, her passion never wavers.
“When you see your batch of instructors graduate, making it through the tough course and seeing them grow - I really feel like a proud mom sometimes!” laughs Nadiah.
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Building Blocks of Confidence
From working with technology and computers to now leading a team of instructors at OBS, Lutfi’s career journey has been an adventure indeed.
Coming across OBS after leaving his previous job as an I.T. programmer, their mission of developing future-ready youths fit just right. An element he did not expect, however, was the difficulty in picking up soft skills - something essential to bond and interact with the kids and his team.
“I had really bad stage fright - even in front of a group of ten people, it was hard to speak without trembling,” shares Lutfi.
“Before I joined OBS, I only focused on my individual goals; however, this focus transformed into one that emphasised the outcome of the team I worked with throughout my time here. This is something I learned when I saw how much my Team Managers sacrificed for my learnings. They didn’t always have to stay back, help out, and give me feedback, but they did.”
Here at OBS, there’s a strong culture of teamwork and striving for the best. Team Managers aim to work with Instructors to develop skills necessary for growth. An example? Lutfi’s seniors helped him overcome his initial fear of public speaking. He even emceed for an event with over 100 people recently - something he couldn’t even have imagined doing when he first joined the team.
Lutfi is now a confident team manager, who communicates effectively with his team to accomplish tasks. In fact, he acknowledges that his seniors’ guidance paved the path for his own leadership style as a Team Manager.
“The people who are here before you, you see them doing this. You learn and grow by watching them and experiencing. It doesn’t feel like work when you’re enjoying the process.”
Today, Lutfi leads by example, just like his seniors did, remarking how he tries to develop his team to be better instructors by helping them champion their own weaknesses.
“Helping my team improve professionally and personally will impact the kids better as well,” shares Lutfi.
“And isn’t that fulfilling the purpose of OBS?”
Yes indeed, Lutfi.
A Visionary Leader and a Student for Life
His story is an unlikely one - from not being selected for OBS as a secondary school student to now being the Head of International Affairs at National Youth Council (NYC), Chung Tai has had quite the journey throughout his career.
The self-proclaimed ‘lover of the outdoors’ discovered his passion for adventure during his university years.
“One day, I had an epiphany and thought to myself, ‘If I don’t do this now, I’ll regret this for the rest of my life.” This was the moment when Chung Tai decided to quit his job and chase his dreams of becoming an OBS Instructor.
As part of the #10yearschallenge currently circulating on social media, Chung Tai shares a photo taken in 2009, where he spent his first month training for abseiling proficiency. 10 years later, he feels that his OBS stint prepared him to move on to other roles within NYC.
After five years with OBS honing his skills in experiential learning in the outdoors, Chung Tai transited to a role in Youth Corps Singapore (YCS), which was focused on youth volunteerism and service-learning. Thereafter, he stepped into his current role as the Head of International Affairs with NYC, which involved more coordination of International Relations and programmes that provided international exposure to youths.
Chung Tai remarks how his time at OBS was vital in grooming him to be the leader he is today by shaping his leadership style and perspective in people management.
“OBS trains us in many transferable skills, especially interpersonal ones,” says Chung Tai. “The way I interact with people - I think that came a lot from our culture of helping one another, and that’s what a good supervisor should do for their teammates.”
At OBS and YCS, the work they do is dynamic and ever-changing. Appreciating the job’s intensity, Chung Tai is grateful for his experience there as it made him determined and resilient, characteristics that prepared him well for the high-responsibility role he is in today.
Inculcating a culture of mutual support and personal responsibility - Chung Tai hopes to see OBS continue doing amazing work for many years to come.
Ready to make the first step to becoming an OBS Instructor just like Nadiah, Chung Tai, and Lutfi?