Taxation forms one of the key pillars in nation-building. The contributions of taxpayers go towards different areas of a country's development, including healthcare, education, transport, infrastructure, and defence.
As the main tax administrator to the Government, IRAS collects taxes that supports the Government's economic and social initiatives that aim to spur quality growth and build an inclusive society.
To achieve this mission, IRAS builds a team of energised. empowered and highly skilled staff. Speaking from her own experience, IRAS Merit Undergraduate Scholar Amy Eow shares with us about what kept her energised at work. As a Manager in the Infocomm Technology & Planning Branch within the Infocomm Division, Amy oversees IRAS' IT planning, governance, and system architecture. "What I enjoy about my job is that I get to explore different technologies to leverage at work. I have the opportunity to talk to different vendors and tax counterparts, and visit other countries to learn about their best practices," says Amy.
Exposing the Young Minds through Internship
Learning and growth are key employee value propositions IRAS offers to her staff, which is why the organisation continuously ensures that her staff are exposed to a wide scope of opportunities. As a scholar, Amy gained a head start with two internships during her undergraduate studies. At her first internship, she had the opportunity to be part of a massive project to develop a new online system. "IRAS really made it a point to expose and stretch me. It was not just going through the motion for four weeks. They outlined and planned my internship to ensure that I learnt as much as possible," explains Amy.
Her following internship saw her assuming a frontline role in the Taxpayer Services Division. "Being a frontline officer was something new for me, but the role really gave me a good sense of what operational ground work is like. This has helped me tremendously in my current job in IT strategic planning. My internship experience has become a source of guidance for me many years on," shares Amy.
Junjie, who is currently studying Economics and Management at University of Oxford, has gleaned many meaningful experiences as part of his scholarship journey. Besides funding his overseas studies and expenses, IRAS also sponsored Junjie's exchange programme at the Harvard Summer School. This gave him the chance to study topics related to his undergraduate course in greater detail and experience university life in the US.
Speaking on his internship: "The internship at the Compliance Strategy and Risk Division honed my research skills and allowed me to learn a lot about the organisation. I also got to meet many supportive colleagues," says Junjie, who hopes to be involved in a range of tax work, including tax policy, after graduation.
Amy Eow Sze Hui
IRAS Merit Undergraduate Scholar
Manager, Infocomm Technology & Planning, Infocomm Division
Offering Well-Rounded Experiences through Overseas Sponsorship
Living and studying overseas has been a major eye-opener for Junjie. Beyond the classroom, Junjie has tried his hand at different activities, including ballroom dancing, yoga, and debating workshops. "I have had opportunities to meet people of many different nationalities and cultures. Through these experiences, I also grew to appreciate Singapore more. In addition, being alone in a foreign country has developed my independence and resilience," says Junjie.
Onboarding Seamlessly through Regular Engagement
IRAS takes steps to ensure that its new officers make a seamless transition into the workplace. Amy says, "Even before you start working, you are already immersed in the warm and close-knit IRAS culture. There are orientation programmes for you to interact with staff from all levels, and cross-divisional projects to give you extensive exposure."
This solid support system is something that fellow IRAS scholar Gan Junjie truly appreciates. While Junjie has not started work at the organisation, he has already been welcomed into the IRAS family. "I really appreciate that IRAS grants me opportunities to interact with IRAS staff even though I have not officially started full-time work. I have been assigned a mentor and a buddy, who are always willing to share insights on work and life in IRAS from different perspectives. I have also attended two of IRAS Scholars' Gatherings, where I got to interact with and learn from senior management staff and fellow IRAS scholars," says the IRAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholar.
IRAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
Economics and Management student, University of Oxford
Learning Never Stops
As for Amy, she has had the opportunity to be involved in a rich array of experiences over the past 10 years. Just recently, she travelled to the US to participate in an IT Symposium, which saw over 8,000 Chief Information Officers and IT leaders from around the world. She has also organised technology sharing sessions for business leaders and workshops for IRAS' senior management and staff. Currently, Amy is involved in the revamp and mobile optimisation of the IRAS portal.
Outside of work, the Inland Revenue Recreational Club (IRRC) gives officers an opportunity to plan and participate in an array of fun and meaningful activities. Amy was the Sports Secretary of the IRRC and has participated in inter-agency sports competitions and organised Revenue Games with IRAS' Malaysian counterpart. "Officers get to experience a well-rounded life at IRAS. We don't just work hard but play hard too!" quips Amy.
Exemplifying Core Values: The IRAS Way
IRAS values innovative talents with a passion to make a difference to society. On top of that, you are in the right place if yours resonate with IRAS' five core values – Fairness, Integrity, Professionalism, Teamwork, and Innovation. "IRAS fosters a cohesive culture where everyone works as a team. As we are a progressive organisation, officers are encouraged to think out of the box and constantly explore new ideas. At IRAS, we are also driven by a "can-do" spirit – we rarely say no to a challenge." says Amy.
Junjie offers this piece of advice for youths who are exploring a scholarship journey with IRAS. "Keep an open mind when considering your scholarship options and make use of opportunities like scholarship fairs and tea sessions to understand the organisation better," says Junjie.
And if you get to the interview stage, be sure to showcase your passion and interests! "I believe I was conferred the scholarship because I demonstrated a keen interest in a public service career. It helped that I am genuinely interested in taxation through reasoned opinions on some contentious issues in this field," concludes Junjie.