Ms Grace Fu
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment
Mr James Soh
Executive Director, National Youth Achievement Award Council
Mr Wong Kee Joo
Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Singapore
Colleagues and students
Ladies and Gentlemen
The ITE-SME Climate Change Mitigation Project was mooted by National Youth Achievement Award Council’s (NYAA) Executive Director, Mr James Soh, in early 2020, and is kindly supported and sponsored by HSBC Singapore. I would like to add that this project is not the first environment-related student programme initiated by NYAA and HSBC for our students.
For many years, both NYAA and HSBC have been long-time supporters of our students’ environmental education journey through applied learning projects. Our students have benefited from the HSBC-NYAA Youth Environmental Award programmes. So we were glad when James approached us about this new sustainability student project which is targeted at solutionising for SMEs.
The idea of doing green projects for our SME is compelling as it will provide our students with opportunities to apply their technical skills to solving real business problems, appreciate the business considerations when developing green solutions, and get acquainted with the industry. Just as importantly, our students learn under the guidance of the industry mentors and NYAA Climate Change Advisor Professor Jeff Obbard. All these are invaluable learning for our students - achievable only outside of the school environment.
The launch of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 early this year brought about much awareness and greater interest in addressing climate change issues. The Green Plan is a whole-of-nation movement to get individuals, organisations, community together to transform Singapore into a model sustainable city. So, this ITE-SME Climate Change Mitigation Project dovetails very well with the Singapore Green Plan 2030. It allows our students to appreciate how they can play their part in this Plan, and also learn about the opportunities ahead as the global sustainability movement gather more pace and momentum.
For this project, 48 students from our 3 colleges worked with 15 SMEs to identify projects which will enhance environmental performance, improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. Although this programme was introduced just before the pandemic struck us, our students and staff and the SMEs continue to pursue the intended outcome of this project in the midst of fighting COVID-19. Under the guidance of Professor Jeff Obbard, they conducted environmental impact studies and proposed solutions to improve sustainability and reduce carbon emissions.
Our environmental ethos is ‘We use our skills and resources to care for the environment’. This simple statement has guided us in our education programmes and actions. We are currently in the midst of implementing our third 5-year Environmental Sustainability Strategic Roadmap (2020-2024) which focuses on fostering the culture, and developing curriculum and competencies that will support a Green and Sustainable Singapore.
One of the programmes in this roadmap is the ‘ITE Youth Environmental Stewardship Programme’, a structured programme to nurture our students to be environmental leaders to mitigate climate change. This programme builds on three components: Educate, Engage and Recognise; Educate through workshops, learning journeys and leadership development programmes focussing on climate change; Engage by creating opportunities for these young leaders to lead in environmental activities and running the Green Ambassadors Club and enhanced funding for prototyping of green projects; finally Recognise & motivate them through ‘Outstanding Eco Stewards’ awards and ‘Outstanding Green Innovation Projects’ awards for students who have been exemplary in leading this good cause. We hope through this new programme, we will further inspire students to take actions and be advocate for protecting our environment.
On behalf of ITE, I thank Minister Grace Fu for taking time to grace this event, and NYAA, HSBC, Prof Obbard and our 15 SME partners for providing opportunities for our students to apply their technical skills to find practical solutions which are green and help reduce carbon emission.
Congratulations to the 6 teams who will be receiving awards today, and may this learning experience motivate you to continue contributing to environment causes.