Education and career guidance through Marine Youth Ambassador programme

For more than three years, S.E.A. Aquarium’s Marine Youth Ambassador programme has seen over 250 student volunteers experience what it is like to work at one of the world’s largest aquariums.

Designed for students aged 15-18, the selection process begins with a recommendation from their teacher, before an interview with the S.E.A. Aquarium Operations team. This gives them a taste of the job search process, and how to present themselves to potential hirers.

Marine Youth Ambassador
Song Xing Zhi from Pioneer Junior College recently volunteered as a Marine Youth Ambassador to educate and inspire guests about marine life and conservation, while she learned more about the tourism industry. Photo credit: Valerie Tan

Leading these interviews is Jim Hudson, Senior Manager, S.E.A. Aquarium Operations.

“We look for that hidden spark in these students. Some of the best volunteers we’ve had were very shy at first. But through the programme, we have seen them emerge from their shell very quickly and blossom into confident, highly motivated young adults.”

Before their 5-10 days stint, the students will undergo a one-day orientation to learn about marine animals and aspects of guest engagement. They will then be posted to stations such as touch pool and the various habitats on a rotational basis.

Last week, four Secondary Three students from Ping Yi Secondary School doubled up as Marine Youth Ambassadors as part of their Education and Career Guidance (ECG) programme. ECG is an initiative by the Ministry of Education to introduce students to various career opportunities, and to plan for their future. They share their experience.

Marine Youth Ambassador
Hafizah Ayni (left) and Putriy Omar (right) enjoyed sharing with guests fun facts about animals in the touch pool. They also learnt to manage crowds, such as how to politely explain to guests who enter from the exit to join the queue from the other end.

The touch pool is a great platform for these students to improve their guest engagement skills. The exhibits become the common topic of interest that bridges them and the guests as they build their confidence in public speaking.

——– Jim Hudson, Senior Manager, S.E.A. Aquarium Operations

Marine Youth Ambassador
Nicole Cruz pointing to a dolphin as she shared fun facts with children on an educational field trip. She particularly enjoys working with young children and being part of their learning journey.

Koh Lin Lynn, biology teacher at Ping Yi Secondary School shares her thoughts on the programme:

“This is a very authentic learning opportunity. Most students in the programme already have a strong interest in the tourism or aquaculture industry, so it is a great way for them to reaffirm their strengths and make informed choices when pursuing their higher education and future career.”

Toh Qiuyan, teacher and ECG coordinator at Ping Yi Secondary School adds:

“Marine Youth Ambassador is one of the few programmes in Singapore that offers such an immersive, hands-on experience for secondary school students, and to really put their skills to the test.”

Marine Youth Ambassador
From left: Koh Lin Lynn, Marine Youth Ambassador Addison Ling, Jim Hudson and Toh Qiuyan. Addison’s favourite station is the Open Ocean Habitat as he enjoys engaging with guests from all walks of life. He is often asked about animals in the habitat, which spurred him to deepen his knowledge on marine life so that he can share even more with them.

For details on the Marine Youth Ambassador programme, please contact us at education@rwsentosa.com

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