From the fruits that we consume, to the smartphones that we use, to the MRT train carriages that we travel in, all these are most likely to have been shipped to Singapore by sea. Contributing to seven per cent of Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product and employing over 170,000 people, Singapore’s maritime industry plays a key role in the country’s economic growth.
o ensure that our industry continues to have a pool of manpower to help further develop Singapore’s position as a global maritime hub, the MaritimeONE (Outreach NEtwork) Scholarship Programme is one key initiative which aims to develop young and promising talents into astute industry leaders, with the scholarships sponsored by some of the most reputable names in the maritime industry.
Two MaritimeONE Scholars, Darian Chan and Claire Wong, who are both in the final year of their undergraduate studies, share with us on what they are looking forward to as they pursue a future maritime career.
Choosing the Maritime Industry
Fresh out of junior college, Claire admits she was unsure of the path she wanted to take in university. Her father was the one who had initially brought the maritime industry to her attention after hearing from his friends in the business about its good prospects. Claire then did some research, and came to a conclusion that pursuing a degree in maritime is beyond a doubt promising.
She shares, “I figured a degree in this industry was quite interesting and unlike anything I’ve read about. The exchange programme to Norway as part of the course curriculum was also highly enticing. Therefore the maritime degree intrigued me and I gathered that my future career opportunities would be boundless. So I gave it a go.”
Wong Ray Claire
X-Press Feeders – MaritimeONE Scholar
“After all, I wouldn’t be starting from ground zero. I would be able to add value to the company with my experiences.”
As for Darian, his family members assured him of growth in the sector. With an elder brother working as a shipbroker, Darian was always able to gain exclusive insights into the industry and the range of career paths it offers. “I was also drawn to the ‘human touch’ factor emphasised in the industry, as having a successful maritime career would require one to maintain genuine interactions with both clients and competitors,” Darian adds.
After being awarded the MaritimeONE Scholarship, both Claire and Darian have gained much support as they pursue the Maritime Studies degree programme at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Maritime Economics Concentration course at Singapore Management University (SMU) respectively. They tell us about the opportunities they have received through their internship programmes as well as those that they look forward to in their future careers.
An Enriching Voyage
From learning how ships are operated, to participating in a 10-week internship programme, and simply being able to experience a crew member’s life on board a ship, Claire has had countless of learning opportunities which affirmed her decision to join the maritime workforce.
For instance, her internship with her sponsoring company X-Press Feeders allowed her to embark on relevant projects that would prepare her for her future in the company. She also got to experience life on board a vessel for three days while travelling to Laemchabang, Thailand for a meeting.
She shares, “I was able to see the whole process of how vessels departed to how everyone carries out their duties to ensure a safe voyage. As a result, I gained more insights into real-life ship operations with regards to the transportation of cargo, which in turn is the revenue that is generating part of this entire business.”
On Darian’s end, his journey has been no less rewarding than Claire’s. “The MaritimeONE Scholarship opens up many opportunities for me to gain exposure into the industry. My sponsoring company, NORDEN Shipping, is particularly flexible as I was encouraged to do an internship with a different maritime company so that I could learn the whole suite of shipping functions and broaden my perspectives,” he shares.
Chan Guowei Darian
NORDEN – MaritimeONE Scholar
“Communication is perhaps the most important soft skill necessary in a shipping company and an internship forces you to hone it.”
As such, Darian interned in a market research team at a different maritime company, where he gained an overview of the various shipping functions involved in the business from the experience. He also found learning opportunities through his tough challenges – for instance, he learnt how to adapt to the fast-paced culture of a shipping company.
Says Darian, “When I was rotated among the various desks, I was given the understanding of the entire shipping process. I witnessed how the various desks communicate with each other, and how they communicate with their respective brokers and counterparts. Communication is perhaps the most important soft skill necessary in a shipping company and an internship forces you to hone it – hence the value of an internship.”
The Future Ahead
Both Claire and Darian are eager to embark on their future careers upon graduation. For Claire, she hopes that the knowledge and experience acquired throughout her four-year degree programme would equip her well for her career. She tells us confidently, “After all, I wouldn’t be starting from ground zero. I would be able to add value to the company with my experiences, and hopefully in time, I will be able to take on a managerial role and lead a team through various projects.”
Darian also believes his scholarship journey has prepared him well for an enriching maritime career. He concludes, “The soft skills I have picked up from both SMU and my internship experience have taught me how to better manage my time with multiple projects on hand and also strengthened my character. I believe that this would indeed boost my pace of picking up the relevant skillsets needed for the job.”