The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will be home to a first-of-its-kind career-development centre aimed at giving its students the tools to succeed in their future careers.

The Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success will run a mandatory four-year programme, starting first with next year's lot of freshmen at the university's College of Engineering.

The centre was made possible by a $12 million donation from philanthropist Margaret Lien, the widow of banker, hotelier and philanthropist Lien Ying Chow. Her gift was matched 11/2 times by the government, making for a total endowment of $30 million.

Speaking at an appreciation luncheon held in her honour yesterday, NTU president Bertil Andersson said that when fully operational by 2017, the centre will enable NTU students to develop holistically and prepare them for a successful professional life.

Mrs Lien said: "I hope this programme will help students round off their strong NTU academic education with values-based ethics, a social conscience and compassion for those in need. I wish the centre success in bringing out the X-factor in each graduate, so they shine through in their career, community work, home life and contribute as responsible citizens of society."

Employability skills, including communication and problem-solving, and personal values, such as integrity, resilience and social conscience, are some qualities the centre hopes to instill in students.

The centre's batch of pioneering students will undergo a career-preparation curriculum comprising 10 modules. It will start with guidance on planning for their careers, resume-writing and training in handling interviews and networking events.

Final-year students will be guided on their professional conduct at the workplace, including how to apply human values, ethics and emotional resilience in their work life.

To meet the needs of digitally-savvy youths, NTU has introduced initiatives in recent years, such as a mobile app called JobPASS, and the NTU Talent Site online portal for students to network and get connected with potential employers.