Due to the success of the inaugural Prudential Young Trailblazers (PYTB) Competition back in 2018, PYTB was brought back this year, with a separate competition timeline for the senior category – tertiary schools – apart from the secondary school category. This year’s PYTB competition boasts a technological improvement as well, with the use of Google Classroom for participants to submit works as well as to carry out discussions, be it within the team or with their industry and team mentors. Such a space would hopefully enrich the participants’ experiences and allow a smoother process of submissions.
The launch of the tertiary school category in PYTB 2019, organised by Acorn Training in collaboration with Prudential on the 2nd of March, saw a total of 45 aspiring teams from over 12 institutions of higher learning, gathering together as an official mark of their Trailblazing journey. There was a promisingly exciting mix of teams from the Polytechnics, Institute of Technical Education, Junior Colleges, schools offering Integrated Programmes and international schools.
Registration began as early as 8.30am, as the excited young innovators began streaming into Prudential @ Scotts for the half-day launch. We spoke to Nabil and Rayyan, both Year 2s from ITE College East, who were some of the first few to arrive.
Why did you join PYTB?
Nabil: “We joined PYTB to gain new experiences […] competing in national level.”
Rayyan: “We also want to enhance our skills and try to […] upgrade ourselves and do our best for this competition.”
As the hall filled up with many more participants who had similar aspirations for the competition, one could hear the scattered chatter of different teams interacting with one another; perhaps excited chatter of what was to come, or nervous conversations about the seemingly daunting months ahead.
An opening address was given by Mr Arvind Mathur, Chief Information Technology Officer of Prudential Assurance Company Singapore, PACS. He spoke of his anticipation for what the participants this year were going to bring to the table, based on the many creative ideas he had seen from the first edition of PYTB in 2018.
Mr Elmer Lau, organiser and CEO of Acorn Training, thereafter gave a workshop on Design Thinking, challenging the participants’ notion of what Design Thinking entails and pushing their intellectual capacities in preparation for the rigorous competition journey ahead. He left the teams with some key questions, allowing them to interact with their industry and team mentors for the very first time, giving them a glimpse of the months to come as they would turn to their mentors for help ever so often.
We spoke with some of the industry mentors after their interactions with the teams:
What are your thoughts after interacting with the participants?
Lester Wee, Brian Mae Pte Ltd, Account Manager: “[…] having heard their ideas, I think [they’re] very interesting and I’m very excited to see how they can take it to the next level and how they’re going to implement it […] in the future.”
What is a piece of advice you would give the participants?
Joelle Chong, PPP Academy Pte Ltd, Growth Consultant: “[…] as a team, whether be it you are asked to come, or you voluntarily [came] as yourself together as a team, you need to know and you need to own the project, because the moment you have owned the project, that’s when you can follow through and see through everything.”
A few participants themselves also expressed their thoughts after going through the half-day launch:
Vinoth, St Joseph’s Institution, Year 5 International Baccalaureate Programme, said: “We feel pretty excited and […] we actually learned a lot through the programme: we learned how to analyse […] a problem in society and how to constructively find a solution to it.”
Elaine, Dunman High School, Year 6 Integrated Programme: “[…] I thought it would be a typical competition launch that is just administrative but this was different. the Design Thinking workshop was really helpful and it allowed us to understand how to generate business ideas through empathising with the problems people face in their everyday lives […] Through talking with the director of acorn training, we witnessed how his team’s passion and effort solemnly conquered the challenges faced and their determination in kick starting a business without prior knowledge in this field is admirable and inspirational [and] we look forward to future workshops and sessions.”
The launch ended with a group photo-taking session, reflecting the happy and eager faces of both participants and mentors. Everyone proceeded to have lunch, continuing their fruitful discussions from inside the hall. The launch had therefore officially ended, but the passion ignited in these young innovators and their meaningful time with the experienced mentors had just begun.