Why Future Ready?

(In the future) most jobs will be transformed, requiring new skills and capabilities to make the most of new technologies … (How do we develop) a Future Ready workforce? We have to … mak(e) it possible for (tertiary students) to encounter the real world early. Infuse practical learning into academic learning, early.”


– Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the IMF (International Monetary and Financial Committee)

Since the 1300s, residential colleges at Oxford and Cambridge universities have complemented their academic curriculum by incorporating programmes to develop the whole person and better position students for career success. In the 1800s, Harvard and Princeton followed suit. Homestead Halls is building on this tradition by developing programmes which prepare residents for the real working world of today.

The Future Ready Panel consists of academics and practitioners who have themselves bridged the worlds of industry and academia. The academics spend much of their professional time engaged with industry and are constantly moulding and adjusting their pedagogy to the needs of the ever-changing industries they specialize in. The practitioners frequently give back to academia by engaging frequently with students, and are keen observers of the changes happening in their industries and skills needed for the future. The members draw on their vast experience from both realms to advise and support Homestead Halls in executing Future Ready programmes.



Born in Singapore, Low Siew Thiam was educated at St. Joseph’s Institution, and received his degree, B.Sc (Econs) Hons from the London School of Economics. In his working life, Siew Thiam has worked in an MNC (Shell Singapore), a GLC (Telecoms Singapore now Singtel) and a regional conglomerate (Sime Darby), before becoming an entrepreneur, starting his own business in 1984.

He started work as a reporter with The Straits Times, before moving to Shell Singapore as Personnel Manager. He left in 1972 to join Telecoms Singapore (now Singtel) as Personnel Director. In 1976, he joined Sime Darby as Personnel Director and was subsequently appointed Managing Director of its Consumer and Building Products Division.

Mr Low left Sime Darby in 1984 to found his own company, Homestead Furniture. The Homestead brand grew rapidly, and by the late 1980s, it had expanded to 6 outlets, and was ranked the No. 3 furniture retailer in Singapore. In 1998, he became non-Executive Chairman, leaving the operations to his 2 sons.

In addition to being non-Executive Chairman, Siew Thiam has been active in both academia and executive training. He was a part-time lecturer at the National University of Singapore for 10 years. In that period, he also conducted courses for Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS) and Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).

He also developed an active practice in both university-level education and in executive development training and consultancy in SE Asia and in Europe. In the region, he taught for the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand and Vietnam, and was training adviser to a Swiss-based company in Sri Lanka for over 10 years. At present, he continues to serve as Director of Baur Asia in Singapore, an associate of the Sri Lanka company.

In 2012, he lectured at Turiba University in Latvia where he was appointed Adjunct Professor of East Asian Business in 2014. He continues to visit Latvia twice a year to lecture at Turiba University. Siew Thiam has also been a part-time lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and at INSEAD at both their campuses in Singapore and Fontainebleau, France.


Stephen Jones currently serves as Director of Business Relations at Bangor University (UK). He is responsible for Bangor Business School’s links with businesses in North Wales and academic collaborative partners around the world. Having introduced the teaching of ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘e-business’ at Bangor he now focuses on the discipline of marketing – for teaching, research and in supporting SMEs under government-sponsored engagement projects.

As senior lecturer, he teaches undergraduate, postgraduate, and post-experience executive modules such as International Business, Marketing Strategy, and Corporate Sustainability & Innovation. Stephen also has teaching experience in Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, USA and Zimbabwe.

Stephen continues to build on prior senior management experience in the Middle East & SE Asia, which included a period as Corporate Representative in Beijing in 1987 for a Fortune 500 corporation headquartered in Massachusetts. Examples of activities with industry have included the creation, delivery & quality assurance of cross-border business development programmes between Wales & Ireland, & Wales & Italy (with EU funding); & programmes for management development.

A major activity has been as academic supervisor on Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with individual SMEs. These engagements, funded jointly by the Technology Strategy Board & Research Councils with financial contribution from the company, place a graduate in the company to work on a project of strategic significance. A portfolio of 12 projects (typically each of two years duration) have been completed across the spectrum from physical goods to pure services, for organizations serving individual consumers & corporate clients, operating on commercial & not-for-profit bases.


These strategic interventions have included internationalisation, application of Internet-based solutions, new product development, & organizational optimization initiatives. Particularly satisfying have been contributions to the Welsh economy, language, culture & society through projects focusing on Welsh book publishing, the Welsh music industry, Welsh creative industry incubators & community initiatives, support to Welsh language broadcasting, & the diversification of Welsh agricultural products.

Stephen holds a Master’s Degree in Business and Management from Manchester Business School, as well as a Master of Science in Marine Geotechnics, and a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and Soil Science from University College of North Wales. Stephen is currently pursuing a PhD at Lancaster university – examining interactions across activity systems, & communities of practice. His current research focuses on knowledge transfer between academia & industry. He is also supervising a KESS-funded PhD on changing patterns of digital media consumption & distribution in SME music production in Wales. Both these topics extend his earlier research interests in regional economic development.


Dr. Jenson is the Director of Studies, Residential College 4, National University of Singapore (NUS). His responsibility involves the design and realisation of a transformative educational programme that integrates in- and out-of class learning experiences in a residential setting to develop students into able system thinkers, who have a spirit of concern and care for all living beings and the environment, and are both capable and bold in driving real impactful changes in society.

Dr. Jenson received his BSc (Computer Science with Merit), MSc (Computer Science) and PhD (Information Systems) from NUS in 1997, 2000 and 2012 respectively. He is a multi-disciplinary researcher and a firm believer of lifelong learning. His research strives to uncover new ways in the design of IT systems, on how organizations can address wicked problems, and on how teaching and learning can be reinvented through the innovative use of IT. His research findings have been published in top tier Information Systems and Computer Science journals and conferences. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and SCS’s CITPM. In 2003, he was selected by the Infocomm Authority of Singapore and Sun Microsystems for the prestigious 8 months overseas industry attachment Java Black Belt programme to be groomed as a future leader in IT, along with dozens of Singapore’s national elites.

Dr. Jenson is an international award winner teaching case writer. He was invited by universities in Brazil to coach academics on the use of case study in education and was consulted in the implementation of several action learning experiential programmes for the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa. Prior to joining NUS in 2016, Dr. Jenson was a Senior Lecturer and Head of the Visual Communication with Business Programme at SIM University. He served as the University’s eLearning strategist and was instrumental in driving key strategic eLearning initiatives for the University, including adoption of the flipped classroom methodology.

Before joining the academia, Dr. Jenson had more than 16 years of experiences in strategising IT use as a Chief Enterprise Architect. For his innovative use of IT in solving complex business problems, he has won >20 international and national awards. He was consulted as a subject expert on the use of technological innovation for SME by SPRING Singapore. He has extensive senior management experience. He was a member of the senior management of the King Edward VII Hall (NUS) between 2005-2013 and played an important role in ensuring the operational surpluses of the hall during this period. He continues to hone his senior managerial skills by serving as Head of Manpower and Logistics (National Service) in the Singapore Police Force. Together with a team of key appointment holders, they work to ensure the operational readiness of more than 1,600 NSmen. He is currently an advisory board member of Caregiver Asia Pte Ltd, a leading healthcare provider in Singapore with global presence.

Dr. Jenson has a strong passion in serving society. He is a Senior Assessor for Singapore’s Quality Award and Singapore’s Service Medallion under SPRING Singapore. He is an executive member of HomeTeamNS’s branding and publicity executive committee and strategic review committee. He is currently a member of the ISO/TC 176 and the ISO PC288 Working Group.


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