Behind the scenes of Changi Airport's high-flying success is the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore's (CAAS) team of professionals committed to the excellence of Singapore's aviation hub. CAAS has been enabling the growth of the air hub and aviation industry in many ways – by making safety a priority, providing air navigation services and developing Singapore as a Centre of Excellence for aviation knowledge and talent development.
Working for the CAAS' Air Transport Division is CAAS Undergraduate Scholar Chen Yiliang. He tells us how his passion for aviation led him to his role as Deputy Manager of Air Transport today.
Reaching for the Skies
Growing up with a father who worked in aviation sowed the seeds of Yiliang's interest in the industry. He says, "It started when I attended air shows with him as a child and flying – or rather, trying to fly – his radio-controlled airplanes. CAAS is naturally a career fit because it is a confluence of both my desire to serve Singapore and my interest in aviation." He also believes that it was this deep-rooted interest and desire that made him a deserving recipient of the CAAS Undergraduate Scholarship.
The Scholarship opened the doors to endless opportunities for Yiliang to grow within the industry. For instance, he got to experience three internships at CAAS which deepened his understanding of the organisation. These allowed him to understand how he will be able to best fit and complement the organisation when he officially commenced work.
However, making the transition from school to the working world was never guaranteed to be smooth-sailing, regardless of the number of internship stints. Says Yiliang, "Being part of the working world thrusts you with a multitude of responsibilities and you are tasked with roles that impact the wider public. You are no longer only on an educational endeavour, but expected to make decisions that have implications and ramifications."
This is why Yiliang is grateful for the slew of CAAS initiatives that support freshly-minted officers as they transit into the workforce. These include the orientation programme, buddy system and mentorship programme. With these, Yiliang is assured the guidance and resources he needs in order to learn new things quickly.
CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
Deputy Manager (Air Transport)
Exciting Opportunities Ahead
Today, Yiliang works in the Air Hub Economics section of the Air Transport Division. As Deputy Manager, he engages in bilateral and multilateral air services relations and negotiations with the countries under his portfolio. He also analyses data to uncover insights and develop solutions to support the implementation of policies. These are all done in order to further Singapore's air hub competitiveness.
He is only less than six months into his role, and work challenges are bound to confront him. But Yiliang sees each challenge as a learning opportunity, saying, "My work allows me to be cognizant about the issues we face as an air hub and come up with solutions to maintain our competitiveness internationally, which is deeply satisfying."
In fact, he looks forward to an even more exciting and enriching future with the Changi East developments on the horizon. He says, "CAAS is not only in the middle of all these, but we are bringing forth and cultivating positive transformations. This makes the work ever more challenging and fulfilling, and our contributions a significant enabler to Singapore's economy!"
Yiliang also has one piece of advice for aspiring CAAS Scholars out there with bright dreams like his: "It is important for you to understand and have a good sense of your strengths and weaknesses. You also need to be able to articulate how these will enable you to complement the organisation's needs."