Last year, Nation Building School initiated a leadership program called Guruship to expose, educate and empower youth to be the best version of themselves. The 90-day program consists of orientation, halfway review and graduation. During this period, they were taught the best practices of community organising and exposed to leaders from various backgrounds. A total of 49 Gurus graduated from the program.
This year, we have redesigned the Guruship. While youth development has always been our aim, we decided to deep dive into a critical issue -- youth unemployment. Globally, youth unemployment is close to a historic peak since the global recession and global financial crisis. According to ILO, over 71 million young between the ages of 14 and 24 are officially unemployed. The unofficial estimates could be significantly higher. In Malaysia itself, youth unemployment is triple of the average unemployment at 10.7%. Over 200,000 young graduates are unemployed.
With this in mind, the Guruship is targeted for youth not in education, employment, or training (NEET) to ensure they have access to training and development. The Guruship is divided into 3 phases: Personal, Professional, People (3Ps).
Personal: Participants are connected to leading figures from public, private and social sectors. This exposure allows them to expand their horizon on career prospects and entrepreneurship.
Professional: Subsequently, participants are provided in-house career guidance such as resume, interview and networking.
People: While job-hunting, participants organise community projects or campaigns (e.g. climate change, women empowerment, statelessness). They will harness soft skills such as communications, problem-solving and teamwork. These skills will be crucial when they seek employment.
We have restructured the Guruship as well. As opposed to a 90-day program, we have converted it into monthly gatherings. During these Gatherings, Gurus share their progress in their studies and career, and are matched with fellow Gurus who can assist them. In addition, the Gatherings serve as a sounding board for their community projects or NGO's. We were inspired by its potential to be a mix of Benjamin Franklin's Junto (platform to share ideas), BNI (find opportunities to collaborate) and DrinkEntrepreneurs (easy-going way to meet new people).
The pictures above were the 3rd Guruship Gathering held at Liberal Latte (Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur) on 8th November 2017.
For our 17th VIP Classroom, our Gurus met H.E. Victoria "Vicki" Treadell, British High Commissioner to Malaysia on 13th April 2017. Vicki Treadell was gracious to host us at her residence Kuala Lumpur to talk about life lessons.
Some takeaways from the session:
1. Project confidence - understand how people perceive you
2. Being clear on your point of difference - your differences is what makes you different
3. Be visible and audible - add value to every discussions
4. What is your image? - you become what you believe
5. Never stop learning
6. Plan your career in cycles of 5 years at a time
7. Managing your bosses is as important as managing your staff - build relationships!
8. You can be a good leader if you do your day job well
9. When your team is successful, you are successful
10. Feedback is important - give it constructively and ask for it
11. Be active in your society.
Our Gurus had a small but intimate session with Malaysia's favourite social activist, Syed Azmi.
He spent two hours talking about his social causes, the opportunities and challenges that comes with it.
Syed Azmi was generous to share advice and tips on making an actual impact with the people that really matter.
We learned the need to talk less and do more; dialogue with people who you won't necessarily agree with; and be patient in advocating important issues.
We took away many lessons from Syed Azmi's experience. Among others, they are know your neighbours before wanting to change the world, lead by example and remember the cause is not about you but about others.
All in all, an inspiring night for us at Nation Building School to learn from your favourite activist's favourite activist.
Thank you for the opportunity, Syed Azmi! Our torch for youth in Malaysia only grows brighter!
On 25th July 2016, we held our 9th VIP Classroom. This time, the Gurus met with Mr. Nazrin Hassan - CEO of Cradle Fund (more on his profile below).
Some of the key takeaways from this session:
For their 4th VIP Classroom, the Gurus met YB Senator Khairul Azwan Harun (AKA Azwanbro) on 16th May 2016 at Akademi Kepimpinan Kapten Hussin (AKHI) in Kelana Jaya.
Azwanbro is a politician with extensive corporate experience. He spoke about "My Journey in the Corporate and Political World."
He shared 7 key lessons in life and leadership:
One 26th January 2016, we organised a private session between young leaders and Mr. Raja Singham - Founder & Managing Director of Brickfields Asia College (BAC).
16 lessons in life and leadership with Raja Singham:
In the “VIP Classroom Series”, we deconstruct Malaysia’s leading personalities and learn their strategies, tips and secrets to success. We get close and intimate to ask questions you’ve always wanted to (or never thought of) — role models, daily routines, favourite books, even their favourite cereal. VIP Classroom is part of the Guruship.
In our inaugural VIP Classroom Series, our VIP is none other than Benjamin Yong, Founder & Chief Eating Officer (CEO( of The BIG Group. If you don’t know, he’s the man behind your favourite restaurants & cafes — Ben’s, Plan b, Ben’s General Food Store, Ben’s Independent Grocer and many more. We held this session on 12th January in Ben's Publika.
10 things Ben said:
1. My 5 core principles are Integrity, Honesty, Value Proposition, People & Relationships
2. My favoruite food is nasi lemak because like life, it's simple. Life should be simple.
3. I check social media for feedback from customers as well as ideas on cuisines and recipes.
4. The BIG experience is important. I select the material and design of the cafes myself.
5. Diversifying our portfolio is important. As you know, we opened grocery store in addition to expanding our F&B. In the current economic situation, retail has went down 18% whereas groceries has increased 25%. So, we're doing okay lah.
6. I've learned a lot from our social enterprise, Project B. [In collaboration with Dignity For Children (DFC) foundation with support from Berjaya Cares Foundation and The BIG Group.] Leo Burnett is doing the marketing. What I learn is even if you have the big boys, it doesn't guarantee success.
7. Yes, it's important to balance between being hands-on and empowering your people. Making mistakes is important, that's one way you really learn. But I don't believe empowerment is making the same mistakes. I install CCTV in my cafes for auditing purposes.
8. When I was younger, I would sacrifice time for family and friends for work. But I won't do it now. I mean I'd bring a stack of work paper to read but I probably won't even read them. I'd rather spend a whole day with my daughter.
9. We're launching "Food Lab" to train foodpreneurs. Giving internships and opportunities for young people interested in culinary.
10. In the current economic condition, we're looking at pricing. We can sell nasi lemak at RM 5 but we don't want to compromise on the [BIG] experience. That's our value proposition.
We are youth platform aiming to shape the future, one mind at a time.