Tan Qiu Ling, Social Worker
Social Worker, South Central Community Family Service Centre
After graduating with a Mass Communications diploma, Qiu Ling was suddenly faced with a life decision. Was the media industry what she truly looked for as a career choice? Fortunately, we have Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life to thank for turning her around. The inspirational book made Qiu Ling realised she wanted to do something meaningful to help others in the community. There was no stopping her once she made up her mind. When she applied for the NCSS scholarship to pursue her Degree in Social Work from NUS, her motivation, and promising leadership ability, were clearly noticed.
“The Social Service Scholarship is very beneficial for someone who is keen to make a difference in the community. It allows a good exposure of the whole landscape and offers plenty of opportunities to train. The mentorship programme paired me up with Ms Woo Mei Mei, Head of Programmes at Care Corner, who gave me sound advice on many aspects of social service.”
Eventually, Qiu Ling decided to apply for and successfully joined the Sun Ray scheme, a centralised initiative administered by NCSS to groom potential leaders for Social Service Agencies. Sun Ray develops these potential leaders by providing individuals with cross-organisational exposure and support through rotation opportunities across sub-sectors.
Her perspective of her leadership ability was well enhanced by the SSI Leadership Milestone Programme – Lead Self. Through the ADEPT-15 and 360-degree assessments, her understanding about her strengths and weaknesses were heightened. “Before you can think of leading people, you’ve to manage and lead your own self. You’ve to look at your strengths and weaknesses with the spirit of humility and self-acceptance. This self-awareness pushes you to grow. When you’re able to grow as a person, you can influence the people around you more.”
|"Service delivery in this sector is not just about giving financial assistance, but enhancing the community life and spirit. To me, the best scenario is seeing neighbours helping neighbours, be it with caregiving duties or lending a hand. That is my aspiration for the social service sector – to see the power of community spirit rising up to the challenge."|
Posted to South Central Community Family Service Centre (SCC), Qiu Ling is dedicated to partner families towards transformational changes. Working from a community-centric lens, Qiu Ling also engages other members in the community to build relationships as part of increasing social capital of the families.
Despite the busy casework schedule, Qiu Ling never fails to find time to learn. In SCC, she participates in a practice circle for peer learning to enhance her social work competencies. Recently, she also attended a Lifelong Learning Festival programme that allowed her to learn sign language with a Deaf instructor.
“The act of learning is contingent on the fact that you do not know something. When you practice humility and be involved in listening and collaboration, you can truly learn. My first year in SCC, there are still many aspects where I’m lacking, situations I may not be able to handle. This is my motivation to learn – to have an arsenal of approaches and skills to guide me in helping my families.”
Despite her relatively short time in the social service sector, her ability of leadership and passion to serve is evident. While micro skills such as clear communication, listening and questioning are vital to a social worker, Qiu Ling understands more and more that the key to success is perseverance. Regardless of the stress that comes with the territory, her anchor in purpose is what pushes her to overcome her own limits as an individual, a case worker and a budding leader.