John K E Tan

Started dabbling in youth work in 1988 in an informal church youth setting as a volunteer. Since then I’ve been involved in organisational roles as practitioner, trainer, agency head, board member in various settings like church, education and non-profit organisations.

My education and career background cover areas like sales, marketing, exhibition and conference organising, theology, ecclesiology, counselling, youth development, youth culture, strengths-based instruction, andragogy, coaching, mentoring, and suicide prevention.


Youth Work Association Singapore (YWAS)

Sometime in the late 2000s, a band of veteran youth work practitioners in Singapore got together and expressed a felt need for a movement to help distinguish youth work as a distinctive practice. There was no comprehensive training programme that prepared individuals to serve as youth workers. Neither was there professional recognition or accreditation available to certify those in the youth work sector.

Discussions with relevant government agencies and focus group meetings with youth workers and leaders then ensued. In September 2011, through funding secured from the then Workforce Development Agency, Dr Trudi Cooper, a professor from Edith Cowan University, Australia, spent a few days consulting and advising on the setting up of a youth work association.

In March 2012, the Youth Work Association (Singapore) was formally registered as a society with the Registry of Societies. YWAS’ mission is to advocate for, set benchmarks, and celebrate the cause of youth work in Singapore. Membership is open to all involved in engaging or reaching youths, regardless of setting.

© Commonwealth Alliance of Youth Workers 2018