SNCF introduced Coop Clubs to schools a few years ago, to impart co-operative values to future generations and educate that co-operatives are viable, sustainable business models contributing to the greater good. Within a short span of time, we saw 13 schools steadily embracing the idea and setting up Coop Clubs to give students first-hand experience of running a social business with emphasis on co-operative values of self-help, mutual help, equality, care for community and co-operation.
Through Coop Clubs, students receive training in practical business skills such as finance and marketing. Each Coop Club is given seed funding of up to $1,500 over two years by SNCF. Students are given opportunities to learn the different aspects of business – from fund raising to product development to marketing and accounting – ultimately, providing a good overview of what it takes for a business to operate and thrive. Initiatives such as learning journeys to co-operatives and community outreach, hope to instil values to build character where students learn about the co-operative difference of do good and do well.
Coop Clubs empower students to apply their knowledge through creative and enterprising ways. They decide what they want to do and implement their business plan accordingly. Proceeds from sales go towards their social causes or to school funds. Throughout the whole process, student are guided by their teachers with support from the Campus & Youth (C&Y) team of SNCF. They are given chances to try, fail, learn and improve themselves from the experience of running a business.
As Mr Sheikh Farid B Abdul Karim, HOD (Normal Technical), Broadrick Secondary School says: “The programme trained our students well in areas related to entrepreneurship, creativity, teamwork and leadership. These are skills relevant for the students not only in running the ASE Coop but also in their working lives after they graduate from school.” Broadrick Secondary School is the first school to form a Coop Club.
Apart from social-preneurial skills and co-operative values, SNCF hopes to impart additional skill set that is relevant today and in future through the introduction of the STEM Coop Clubs. In the STEM Coop Clubs, students are taught how to use 3D Printers and laser cutters in the production of their own designs.
The Straits Times has recently published a story on coop clubs. Click here to know more.