Strength in Unity

Timothy coaches Wushu and Taiji. Over the years, Timothy observed that it was difficult for freelancers and sports service providers to negotiate with big clients as they did not have strong bargaining power. Wanting to be more involved, he joined NICA and led initiatives to support the freelancers
28 Apr 2022
Wushu is a way to uplift the community and impart values. As a Wushu & Taiji Coach, Timothy has been practising Wushu ardently for 18 years, while supporting the freelancing and self-employed community in his capacity as a Young NTUC Association Leader. 
Wushu, a way of life 
Timothy is the Business Development Director of Martial House, and a Wushu & Taiji Coach who trains athletes and practitioners for both competition and leisure. It can be tough to be in the sports industry as income is highly variable and subject to the demand of clients. 
Over the years, Timothy observed that it was difficult for freelancers and sports service providers to negotiate with big clients as they did not have strong bargaining power. In his search for solutions, Timothy found out about the National Instructors & Coaches Association (NICA) through social media. After attending a few engagement sessions, he realised that the challenges faced by fellow coaches were similar. Wanting to be more involved in helping freelance instructors and coaches, Timothy became a part of NICA and was eventually invited by Young NTUC to be a Young Association Leader.

The collective voice of the community 
Timothy saw immense capacity to drive change as a Young Association Leader. There are many challenges that freelancers faced and cannot be solved individually. However, as a collective voice, there is strength in unity in presenting their case to big institutions. To better understand coaches and instructors on the ground, Timothy and team of NICA leaders attend regular Kopi Talk sessions organised by NICA to engage with members, share valuable advice and resources that they can leverage on. He also attends dialogue sessions hosted by key appointment holders from the various ministries to raise concerns faced by coaches and instructors. 
During NICA Appreciation Movement 2021, Timothy worked with the team to explore new ways of increasing connections and inspiring fellow coaches and instructors. He hosted Facebook “Live” series, themed “Get Inspired!” to feature members from different fields to share experiences, insights and tips on overcoming challenges and discovering new opportunities as freelancers. Timothy was also part of the panellists to share and discuss freelancing with students from Singapore Polytechnic and Cedar Girls’ School. 

Uplifting coaches 
As a Young Association Leader, Timothy and team lobbied for greater support for coaches and instructors by having sector agencies recognise challenges faced by coaches & instructors and roll out relevant schemes during the COVID-19 pandemic such as the Self-Employed Persons (SEP) Project Grant. 
Timothy and team also lobbied for a better contracting arrangement with the Ministry of Education (MOE) for coaches and instructors who are providing Co-Curricular Activities (CCA)and enrichment programmes for MOE schools. The contract model has been on a pay-per-use basis based on estimated CCA hours required by each school. With the involvement of NICA working with MOE for the past year, there were enhancements to the contractual terms such as a committed payment of 80% of the estimated training hours contracted for each base period and payment to coaches in the event of last-minute cancellation of CCA sessions. 
In addition to getting their voices heard, NICA members also enjoy networking sessions, with exclusive invites to attend workshops and programmes to upskill and enhance their personal branding, providing them with greater work opportunities. 

Shape your future 
Timothy’s advice to youths is not to lose focus and to keep the end goal in mind! Especially for freelancers, discipline is crucial when it comes to the sourcing of projects and clients to ensure financial sustainability. Having the ability to attract customers and clients is essential. If you are new to freelancing, you may wish to test it out as a side hustle first before committing 100% to becoming a full-fledged freelancer. Many individuals freelance due to the flexibility in time and job scope. Timothy believes strongly in “Work-Life Harmony” for both freelancers and fully employed workers. By having a healthy work-life balance, individuals will find purpose, meaning and fulfilment in their lives. 

Take care of yourself so you can take care of others 
Timothy finds it enriching to be a Young Association Leader as he can create a positive impact by having a greater purpose in life to help others, instead of just living for one’s life. As an advocate, self-care is essential, to be strong in order to support and help others. Having practised Wushu for years, Timothy says that the sport teaches moral values which can be applied in real life - for instance, perseverance and determination which are not easily taught through books but can be learnt and applied through Wushu. 


Combine your passion with purpose 
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NICA represents and advances the collective interests of coaches and instructors to work better, live well, and unlock new opportunities. If you are a professional coach or instructor for sports, outdoor learning & adventure, visual and performing arts, fitness and wellness, or enrichment, visit us at our Facebook  or website for more information