Mr. Yeo Li Pheow, Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Republic Polytechnic,
Board of Governors,
School Advisory Committee members,
Distinguished Guests, Parents and Graduates,
2 It gives me great pleasure to join you here today. Let me begin by congratulating the graduating students from the School of Sports, Health and Leisure. Today marks a significant milestone in your life and I am delighted to be here to celebrate the occasion with you.
3 After today, some of you will continue your academic journey while others will take the first step to embark on your careers. But for all you, I am sure that you are contemplating your future and asking questions like: How will this diploma prepare me for the challenges in the future? What will the sporting landscape be like in Singapore when I enter the workforce?
4 These are important questions and I am sure that you will gain clarity as you go along. For now, let me say: Your achievement to-date reflects your passion and conviction for sport; it represents a sporting journey of many possibilities and opportunities. I have great confidence in your combined ability to shape the future for Singapore and in particular the aspirations of the sporting community and industry.
5 The Sporting Singapore story has continued to grow from strength to strength in the past decade because of the capabilities that have been developed in the sports ecosystem. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) SSC has with RP is one important example. It has been built on the pillars of developing our people, our future generation - *you* - for the challenges of tomorrow.
6 In the past three years, your experience in RP has taken you beyond the domains of Sports & Leisure Management, Exercise Sciences or Outdoor and Adventure Learning. As you collaborated with students from different schools, you learnt the importance of working together to find multi-disciplinary solutions to complex problems; much like what is needed in the real world.
7 Some of you have had the opportunity to work with us at SSC. You've observed first hand how sport can bridge divides and inspire the Singapore Spirit. I think that is what all of us working in sport want: to bring out the best in our people for our people.
8 By now, many of you may have heard that SSC along with the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) embarked on the Vision 2030 project - a new master plan for sports for the next 20 years. Under the banner: 'live better through sport' we want to use sport as a national strategy to develop our people, to galvanise people of various communities and to inspire a love for country.
9 Since the conversation first started in July 2011, we have engaged some 2,500 people through our website and face-to-face discussions.
10 Some of you here may have participated in the conversation. Over time, as the discussions evolved, it became evident that sport *matters* to us.
11 From the 19 preliminary recommendations we released in February, we realised that Singaporeans want greater access and more opportunities. They want more meaningful experiences that springs from enhancing the capabilities of our coaches and sports professionals.
12 In many respects, the value of sport and the effects of Vision 2030 will benefit *you* directly. But above all, *you* will help bring to bear the transformation that we want to see through Vision 2030.
13 Vision 2030 will serve as the impetus for growth. It calls for a greater level of professionalism, resourcefulness, and expertise across our entire sporting ecosystem. For many of you, it will open the doors to play an integral part of our sporting journey. From sports science & medicine to programmes for all ages and abilities, to sports events and administration, the possibilities, through Vision 2030 are endless. If you haven't seen the 19 recommendations, I encourage you to do so. Pick an area that you are passionate about and embark on a journey that will enable you to contribute to your field of interest.
14 And I'm pleased to note that, even as we gather here, many of you have already found your calling in sport and are well on your way to apply your passion and education in the various sectors. Some have been offered jobs even before today's graduation ceremony. For example, Ms Goh Mei Fang, who is graduating from the Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management programme this year, was offered a position as a High Performance Executive, while serving her internship with the Singapore Table Tennis Association (STTA).
15 She joins a host of fellow students who have also secured permanent placements in our National Sports Associations (NSAs), which include the Football Association of Singapore, Singapore Sailing Federation, Singapore Ice Skating Association to name just a few. Others have also secured jobs in the numerous sports and fitness service providers across Singapore.
16 This positive employment trend is tribute to the conducive learning environment that RP strives to create for their students. RP's emphasis on Problem Based Learning (PBL) enables students to adapt and think quickly, it encourages students to apply their lessons in real work situations. In today's rapidly moving sports industry, these attributes will be sought after by employers as you enter the workforce.
17 We live in economically uncertain times. You can read the newspaper headlines and know that no city is immune to global pressures. But remember: Singapore has been a haven in the midst of more than one economic storm. We have maintained a business-friendly tax environment in support of the corporate community. We have cultivated our global connectivity, which makes it easier for multinationals to do business here and around the region and the world.
18 As part of our efforts to develop our sporting ecosystem, SSC has been working with the Economic Development Board (EDB) to facilitate companies looking at Singapore as a regional or global base. In recent times, global sport companies such as Nike, Converse, Billabong and Li Ning are just some of the brands that have set up operations here.
19 Similarly, our position as a world-class sports events venue has increased the visibility of sport globally, opening the doors for more sports agencies and broadcast media companies to develop in Singapore. In the past five years, the World Sport Group, MP & Silva, DFL Sports Enterprises, ESPN and IMG Asia are among firms who have began marketing sporting content from their regional base in Singapore.
20 Our thriving sports ecosystem has also caught the attention of international federations. In 2010, Special Olympics Asia Pacific opened its regional base in Singapore.
21 In March last year, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) shifted its Asia Pacific headquarters and international marketing operations to Singapore. At all levels, across all sectors, the future looks bright for you. Developing your talent is one of key strategies that SSC and our government agencies will deploy to harness the growth of the sports industry.
22 On the more immediate horizon, the new Sports Hub, scheduled to open in April 2014, will further advance our position as a global force in the world of sport. As RP students, you will be in prime position to benefit from this growth. In 2015, Singapore will be hosting the 28th edition of the SEA Games. It will be a huge undertaking for Sporting Singapore and for some of you here, it will be your first exposure to a regional, major, multi-sports event.
23 You are here today because you believe in the power of sport to change lives and instill values. As you advance academically, the lessons you learn in sport can help you become better students;
The life skills you obtain through sport can make you a more valued and productive employee.
24 Many of you here will go on to be leaders in your respective fields. I urge you to approach each situation with an open heart and mind. A life in sport may at times be difficult, but I challenge you to approach each task with optimism and a can-do-spirit.
25 Be the change you want to see and give your best regardless of the challenges. Aspire to be Significant. Leave a lasting, positive imprint in the lives of others.
26 Learn from the best of others and choose wisely the values and principles you aspire to live by. It will reflect your work and define your character. It will give you the resolve to make the right decisions in times of crisis.
27 Today signifies your first step towards the sport industry and it gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to the sporting community. I wish all of you successful careers and meaningful journeys, through sport.
28 Thank you.