Generating over 170,000 jobs and contributing to seven per cent of the country's GDP, Singapore's maritime industry is a key sector of our economy. As a private sector-led body, Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) is an organisation that was established in 2004 to help forge strong partnerships between the public and private sectors, as well as help develop manpower to support the maritime industry. To ensure that the community continues to grow its pool of maritime professionals, SMF and its partners constantly collaborate on new scholarships, maritime-related courses and initiatives. One such example is the MaritimeONE (Outreach NEtwork) Scholarship Programme which was created by SMF to help promising young talents find their place in this sector.
Two outstanding individuals who have benefitted from this programme are undergraduates Michelle Anne Lim and Cheng Zheng Yang. Sponsored by Pacific International Lines (PIL) and Norden Shipping respectively, they sit down with us to tell us more about their scholarship journeys and career aspirations.
Various Pathways in a Diverse Sector
Not all who wander are lost, as is the case for Michelle. Not knowing where to go yet after graduating from polytechnic, Michelle decided to take a gap year to get a taste of the working world before furthering her studies. She tells us, "That was when I began my maritime journey at PIL as a Liner Trade Executive Assistant. Over time, I realised that shipping is a dynamic and challenging industry where situations are ever-changing and one has to continuously adapt.
"I met two interns during my last few weeks in PIL who were scholars under the MaritimeONE Scholarship. Both went on and on about the numerous opportunities provided by the MaritimeONE scholarship and suggested that I apply for it. I was sold! The next thing I knew, I was applying for the scholarship to PIL."
On the other hand, Zheng Yang, a scholar under NORDEN – MaritimeONE scholarship programme, already had a clear idea of what he wanted to do in life. "When I was exploring my scholarship options, I chanced upon the MaritimeONE scholarship and it caught my attention right away. I have always been interested in the maritime industry and the sense of adventure it provides. This interest, coupled with my understanding of industry through my Maritime Economics Concentration (MEC) studies in Singapore Management University (SMU), further cemented my decision to join the MaritimeONE Scholarship programme," he explains.
Michelle Anne Lim
PIL — MaritimeONE Scholar
Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies student at Nanyang Technological University
Ensuring a Strong Start
The MaritimeONE experience does not stop short of simply providing scholars with financial aid. SMF ensures that each and every single one of their scholars is given the resources to excel in the maritime industry.
Zheng Yang explains, "SMF has been a key player in supporting their scholars. Through SMF, we are able to tap onto the expertise and knowledge of various stakeholders within the government and the business sector even as an undergraduate. From company visits to dialogues, these exposures have definitely enriched me as an individual and made me better prepared for a career in the maritime industry."
He tells us about the MaritimeONE Scholars' orientation, during which scholars had the privilege of attending the Singapore Maritime Dialogue. "During the event, current issues within the maritime industry in Singapore were discussed by industry leaders, ministers, and academics. It was a fruitful session as I saw how essential the cooperation between the different stakeholders was in ensuring a resilient and strong maritime industry in Singapore. This further strengthened my desire to play my part in contributing to the success of the maritime industry in Singapore," Zheng Yang muses.
Michelle concurs, elaborating, "SMF has provided countless opportunities to connect scholars to various opportunities within the maritime industry. I have attended many events, networking sessions, knowledge sharing sessions, port and company visits, etc. The scholarship programme provides me with a platform to meet industry leaders and peers in other maritime companies, which better equips me for my future career."
Cheng Zheng Yang
NORDEN — MaritimeONE Scholar
Bachelor of Science in Economics with Maritime Economics Concentration with Second Major in Analytics student at Singapore Management University
What Lies Ahead
Both Michelle and Zheng Yang are looking forward to all the adventures they will have in their future careers with their respective organisations.
Michelle enthuses, "My career goal is to continuously seek growth and capture good opportunities at work. I know that growth does not happen overnight, so I am going to be diligent and dedicated to the job once I start work!"
Zheng Yang too has his eyes set on the prize. "I aspire to incorporate analytics into my work on shipping operations. I strongly believe that a keen understanding and the ability to process data within the maritime industry will allow us to take full advantage of the opportunities available especially during challenging times," he exclaims.
For those who are still at the crossroads and figuring out which direction to go, Zheng Yang advises, "Stay true to your passion. Do not be blinded by the benefits that come with the scholarships. It is crucial to have a long-term view in mind, beyond what is offered in plain sight. Financial benefits and job security are definitely a plus, but they are not everything. As Confucius once said, ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.' Keep exploring and one day you will find where you truly belong."