From high-rise buildings that layer the skyline to picturesque bridges that provide passage over water, Singapore has no shortage of structural marvels. A bustling city full of activity today, it is hard to imagine that this country was once a simple fishing village.
Laying the foundation for all this to happen is the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). Taking the lead in the built environment sector, BCA sets the standards on building safety, quality, sustainability, and user-friendliness, ensuring that all buildings meet the needs of the citizens of Singapore.
Jocelyn Xu, a Local Undergraduate Scholar with BCA, is currently an Executive Manager in BCA’s Strategic Planning Office. She tells us about her reasons for joining BCA, and the ways the organisation has helped to shape her professional development.
What is it about Civil Engineering that intrigued you?
From young, I have always had a keen interest in buildings and how they are constructed. Looking at them through engineering principles, I wanted to know how they functioned. It fascinated me that they are able to stand upright, withstanding the test of time through the proper balancing of various forces throughout their infrastructure. Civil Engineering was therefore my first choice in university.
Why did you choose to pursue your interest through a scholarship with BCA?
BCA plays a key role in championing the development of the built environment in Singapore. It provides a meaningful career allowing me to play a part in effecting positive change across the entire built environment. It is fascinating to observe how Singapore’s built environment transforms to support the development of Singapore as a world-class city.
Jocelyn Xu Chunying
BCA Local Undergraduate Scholar
Executive Manager, Strategic Planning Office / Planning Department
What were the opportunities you were afforded with the scholarship?
During my studies, I was given the opportunity to intern at BCA in two different departments. In this internship, BCA also provided me with job shadowing opportunities to gain exposure to the work of other departments. The internship allowed me to gain a better understanding of the wide range of work that BCA undertakes. BCA also sponsored me for a student exchange programme in the United States for one whole academic semester, which was an eye-opening experience because I got to gain a different perspective on civil engineering there.
During my career, I was also given many opportunities to attend milestone programmes sponsored by BCA. One such programme is the three-week Executive Development and Growth Exchange (EDGE) Programme organised by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) for mid-level public officers. This programme also included a one-week overseas study trip. Such programmes truly show BCA’s commitment to developing their employees throughout their careers.
How have these opportunities enabled you to excel in your career today?
The valuable guidance by my supervisors during my internship has definitely given me a head start prior to joining BCA full-time. I had actually garnered some experience which enabled me to smoothly assimilate into my role. It really helped that my superiors and the other staff here were friendly and willing to help me out whenever I had any difficulty.
The EDGE programme also allowed me to gain insights into the underlying principles behind Singapore’s success in urban development and transformation. It gave me the opportunity to consider the issues and challenges ahead for Singapore and provide crosscutting perspectives from urban pioneers and practitioners.
You have been with BCA for three years. What are your continual long-term career goals with the organisation?
I hope to gain more knowledge, in both depth and breadth, to upgrade myself to take on bigger roles. I am excited to try out new things to gain different experiences and BCA’s rotation plan allows me to do just that. Currently I am in BCA’s Planning Department handling strategic planning and policy reviews, but before that, I was in the Construction Productivity & Quality Group where I was in charge of policy implementation related to construction and productivity. The job rotation system really allows employees to get hands-on experience in various parts of the organisation’s workflow, giving you a more holistic understanding of what we do here at BCA.
BCA also sent me for a one-year industry attachment to MOH Holdings. This was shortly after my first posting in the Construction Productivity & Quality Group. In this attachment, I was in charge of the project planning and management of a hospital construction project. This allowed me to broaden my horizons and gain hands-on experience. So I look forward to more opportunities like this.
Furthermore, there are other developmental milestone programmes that BCA has in store for their employees. Besides the EDGE programme for mid-level staff, there is also the Leaders in Urban Governance Programme (LUGP) which is a four-week training course for high performing senior public officers. Eventually, I hope to be able to go through that myself for further development.
With all these plans in place for employees, I am confident my career is in good hands with BCA.
Looking back, how do you know it was the right decision to apply for the scholarship?
BCA is an excellent place to work, as it offers ample opportunities to those who seek challenges and professional development. They have provided me with many training and development opportunities that have helped me in my career, showing me that the organisation is dedicated to helping its staff grow. Suffice to say, if I had to choose again, BCA would still be my top choice!