National Youth Council
Polytechnic | National Youth Council

Education Through Adventure

The world is your classroom. As an instructor at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS), you'll get to be an educator while engaging in non-stop learning.

Puteri Erna Natasha Binte Azmi 
OBS Instructor
Diploma in Pharmaceutical Sciences
Republic Polytechnic

Part of the National Youth Council (NYC), OBS hopes to inspire youths to start a journey of self-discovery and to build confidence and resilience for a lifetime. OBS Instructors take on the integral role of overseeing the growth of the youths during their OBS experience, encouraging experiential learning while being on hand to provide extra guidance if needed. Hear it first hand from Puteri Erna Natasha Binte Azmi, 25, who has embraced her role for almost two years.

Puteri Erna Natasha Binte Azmi

A typical week at work for me involves a lot of talking to participants and working under the sun. Even though it's been more than a year since I've become operational, I still get butterflies in my stomach when I'm waiting for the participants to arrive. I always want to provide a quality and impactful course for them.

What drives me in my work is being able to work with the outdoors and the youths; it's a magical combination. You can never say that you're sick of seeing the sunrise, or of watching a flock of hornbills passing by. And working with 15-year-olds, you'll be surprised how much you can learn. They often teach me more than what I can teach them.

Some of the challenges I face include dealing with conflict within the team. The hardest thing for me was to just let the conflict happen. I learnt that if you don't intervene, most of the time, the youths will be able to solve it on their own if you give them the opportunity to. They just need a small nudge sometimes.

The most memorable moment in my career so far is my assessment week. The whole week was an ah-ha! moment for me, and I'm so thankful for my assessor. I was very inspired by her creativity and focus on soft skills, and it was a defining moment for me that set the goal for the type of instructor I want to be.

My organisation has supported my professional growth through a very supportive work culture. Managers take time to listen to my career aspirations – our progress and growth here are personalised and dynamic instead of following a standardised path.

“Our progress and growth here are personalised and dynamic instead of following a standardised path.” Puteri Erna Natasha Binte Azmi

The skills and qualities needed to succeed in the profession are the passion to teach youth. You are, first and foremost, an outdoor educator, so you need to have the compassion and patience to teach the youth and not just dismiss them if they are not receptive or responsive initially.

What I find most fulfilling is seeing how the participants change after the course – watching them come out of their shells or just seeing people from different schools becoming best buddies, forming friendships that hopefully last long after OBS.

Graduates who want to pursue the profession should ask themselves if they are prepared to live this lifestyle. You spend more time at camp than you do at home; it's a three-year stint typically, so you have to be able to accept the lifestyle. You need to be prepared to spend a lot of time away from your family, but you will also learn to treasure the quality time you spend with your family.