Meet Nurbaiyah, Head of Home at Pertapis Centre for Women & Girls (PCWG). Ignited by her interest to work with youths beyond the context of classroom teaching, she took up the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) in Social Work to become a full-fledged social worker.
Q & A with Nurbaiyah
What is your role and how did you find your way to your current role at Pertapis?
I have been the Head of Home for Pertapis Centre for Women and Girls (PCWG) since January 2021. Before joining the social service sector, I was an educator for 8 years with the Ministry of Education. I am passionate about working with youths and my years as a teacher motivated me to work with youths beyond the context of classroom teaching.
I chanced upon the opportunity to take up the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) in Social Work in 2017 and became a Social Worker in 2020.
What does a typical workday at PCWG look like for you?
A typical workday starts with planning, organising and coordinating the daily operations of the Home. This is a critical step to ensure all needs of the Home are met so that we can deliver the best possible care for all young persons under our care.
Following this, I will usually have a short team huddle as a platform to disseminate critical information and directions for the day.
The flow for the rest of the day depends on what has been scheduled and it will typically involve engaging with volunteers, external stakeholders and professionals as a means to establish connections in the community. I strongly believe that I am in a better place to influence, nurture and educate, when I have good rapport with someone. Hence, before I end each day, I will make it a point to spend some time interacting and engaging with the youths through various activities such as playing games, sports or group sessions.
Tell us more about your journey in the Social Service Sector and what is one thing you would share with someone who is interested in joining social service?
I started my journey in Social Service in 2016 and I was working as a Social Work Associate in a Family Service Centre. I was then offered the opportunity to work for PCWG as a Case Worker and Programme Coordinator before being tasked to take up a leadership position in 2021.
The social work profession is a fulfilling career. It offers rewards, even in the face of challenging circumstances.
One should continue to make connections with others who are in the field so as to learn and leverage on their experiences. These sharing of experiences will be beneficial for you especially in the initial stages of your career.
What are the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Leadership comes with practice and one of the main challenges I have encountered would be people management. As time goes by, I have learnt that people management starts with listening with the intent to understand and to always check in with the team, even when there is nothing wrong.
How has Pertapis supported you in terms of career growth over the years?
Pertapis is an organisation that promotes lifelong learning. They take personal interest in staff's career aspirations and support them in training and continuing education.
Taking up this leadership role, what are your aspirations for the Home/ Pertapis?
I envision PCWG to be a facility that provides a nurturing and safe place, with good quality of care and effective therapeutic interventions to help female youths who have experienced multiple displacements, trauma and abuse, overcome their adversity.
We are striving towards the implementation of an evidence-based service model that has been proven to be effective in residential treatment namely Trauma Informed Positive Behaviour Intervention and Support (TIPBIS). We also aspire to embark on a structured Independent Living Programme that aims to benefit our youths in achieving self-sufficiency prior to, and after leaving, the residential care system.
Who are some of your biggest inspirations within the company?
My inspiration within the company would be PCWG Senior Case Manager, Mdm Fauzana Kaz. Mdm Fauzana has been in service for more than 9 years, nevertheless. Her passion to deliver the very best care and beyond to each of her clients never ends. Her patience, grit and positive work ethics are commendable. No matter what life throws her way, she always stays positive and keeps moving forward. She is inspiring and I really look up to her as one of my positive role models in my journey with Pertapis.
What's something most people don’t know about you?
I used to take Fashion Design modules in my tertiary education and I am actually pretty good at sewing!