Shanmuganathan Kumaraval’s fascination with construction was ignited during his formative years in his neighbourhood. "Growing up in Punggol since 2003, I saw the transformation of my neighborhood into the vibrant place it is today," Shanmuganathan shared. "The construction of HDBs, condominiums, shopping malls, schools, and the picturesque Punggol Waterway Park really stuck with me."
His choice to pursue civil engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS) wasn't just pragmatic - it was deeply rooted in a childhood wonder to fuse the beauty of mathematics with the practicality of physics to solve real-world challenges.
the Building Blocks
Shanmuganathan learned about the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) through a friend during his first year at NUS, and realised the pivotal role it could play in helping him bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical experience.
"While our university education can give us a solid theoretical foundation, contractor firms require continuous on-the-job training to excel as engineers," Shanmuganathan noted.
He decided to apply to join Woh Hup (Private) Limited, a leading construction and civil engineering organisation, as its scholar through the MOE SgIS Scholarship programme.
In Woh Hup, scholars will learn how their assigned function contributes to the overall project delivery, even during internship. Besides interaction with university seniors who are working in Woh Hup, scholars can engage senior management through networking sessions and company events during their internship.
Bridging Theory and Practice
Having interned as a Design Engineer with Woh Hup, Shanmuganathan shared that he has benefited from the structured guidance given. His superiors also supported his learning, sharing invaluable insights into identifying and resolving issues that could arise at construction sites.
"As a year one student, my understanding of engineering principles was still limited, but my superiors provided a structured learning path, outlining key training objectives for me to achieve by the end of my internship," Shanmuganathan said.
Reflecting on his internship experience, Shanmuganathan said, “Now that I am back at university, I can relate some of the concepts taught in class with what I picked up during my internship experience."
Building a Career in Construction
Shanmuganathan believes that civil engineering is an ideal career choice for those who wish to leave a meaningful impact on their communities. "It may not always be an easy journey, but it will undeniably be a meaningful and fulfilling one," he said.
Aspiring MOE SgIS scholarship applicants can take inspiration from Shanmuganathan’s advice: "As a scholar, I am immensely proud to be part of a company that shares my values and sense of social responsibility. My advice to potential applicants is to consider not only a company’s professional reputation and track record, but also its culture and values, as they will make your journey with them much more fulfilling and meaningful."
Woh Hup (Private) Limited is a Sponsoring Organisation in the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) for Built Environment Sector.
Click here to find out more about the Built Environment, and check out the list of Built Environment Sponsoring Organisations.
Student applications for SgIS will open from January 2024, click here to apply.