While some may stay comfortable in their current job role, Donna Lim decided to change career paths during the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue her lifelong dream of helping others grow.
Donna Lim first started her career as a Beauty Advisor and had been at the forefront of retail. But, being a professionally certified education specialist, Donna knew she could make a more significant difference and empower learners with her experience and knowledge.
With the support of her family and friends, Donna plucked up the courage to embark on a 6-month Career Conversion Programme with NTUC’s e2i and iDA’SG, a Japanese retail service and solution provider with a strong reputation in placing candidates in luxury retail. The company opened its doors in Singapore in 2018 to raise the standard of retail professionals. iDA’SG, who share a vision and purpose of connecting workers through job-matching and career advisory, partnered with NTUC’s e2i to hire Donna as a professionally certified education specialist.
After completing the programme, Donna joined iDA’SG’s Corporate team, where she has been working for 1.5 years. She currently leads, curates and delivers training development programs for employees and the general public as an Education Specialist/Consultant.
Change is never comfortable, but it is not as difficult as it seems.
During the six months of on-the-job training, Donna learnt to create dynamic training contents and activities that cater to different learner profiles. These aimed to drive good retention and a positive learning outcome.
“Hosting live webinars and creating ‘on-demand’ videos were something completely new to me. Digital learning is more important than ever. Since not everyone learns the same way, I must constantly review the training curriculum and develop outlines to suit different learner profiles. It is a steep learning curve from my previous role, but I get to learn how to customise the course to ensure a good fit for our clients,” Donna relates.
Donna acknowledged that every new role comes with hurdles in adjusting to the organisation’s culture and the team. In her initial role as a Retail Event Support Team Lead, Donna’s primary struggles revolved around creating the e-learning portal. However, thanks to the support of her whole team, Donna managed to overcome these challenges to cope with the new work scope.
“At iDA’SG, my whole team has been very supportive. Without them, I would still be a lost fish in the sea! They formed my pillar of support and have been highly encouraging from Day 1, especially my mentor and boss, Angeline. They have pushed me in areas of my role I didn’t know I could reach! For example, thinking out of the box to reach out to learners and the public on our e-learning portal. Gone are the days of boring advertisements!” Donna shared.
Donna has since successfully facilitated various courses for iDA’SG’s staff and customers. She has also attained the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Learning and Performance (ACLP) in July 2020. Through these experiences, she realised her true dream – to be a professional trainer.
“This achievement wouldn’t have been possible had I not enrolled in the programme by e2i,” Donna said.
NTUC’s e2i supported sixteen iDA’SG training courses that qualify for funding under the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP) and Skillsfuture Credit. These courses have greatly benefitted NTUC members and individuals with upskilling needs. Donna is the trainer for ten of these courses.
A career switch is always possible – if you are willing to try.
Just as Donna discovered a new career goal later on in her Career Conversion Programme journey, your epiphany may take a while to arrive at. Regardless, you will never get there unless you take the first intentional step. Undoubtedly, the thought of making a career switch can be daunting as the outcome is uncertain. But to those on the fence about taking that leap of faith, Donna offers her mantra: “Never try, never know”.
“Your passion and drive can take you places and open up a world of opportunities and possibilities. However, it is your heart that truly knows if the career switch was the right move. The Career Conversion Programme has helped accelerate my learning, and it has been a wonderful experience growing into my role. Being onboard this programme has also made me realise that switching my career or job scope as I had done is not that scary after all!” Donna quipped.
For individuals thinking of switching careers, book an appointment here with an NTUC’s e2i Career Coach to plan your next steps. Sessions are complimentary for all Singaporeans.
For employers interested in embarking on a Career Conversion Programme, send us your enquiry here.
The programme has been designed to help mid-career individuals undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors with good prospects and opportunities for progression. It promotes a win-win outcome for both the employer and the employee.
Angeline Yap, Managing Director of iDA’SG shared, “The programme’s structured framework promotes a win-win result for the employer and the employee. With these guidelines, we can track new hires’ development and progress. The employee also understands how to improve and what they have achieved during their time with the company.”