The Housing & Development Board (HDB) has been key in shaping the iconic housing landscape of Singapore. Since its inception in 1960, it has built over one million flats. Today, HDB flats are home to over 80% of Singapore’s resident population.
HDB remains committed to providing affordable homes of quality and value, creating vibrant and sustainable towns, and promoting active and cohesive communities. HDB’s vision, “An outstanding organisation with people committed to fulfilling aspirations for homes and communities all are proud of”, plays a central role in its drive to explore new frontiers in shaping and building homes.
We speak to HDB overseas undergraduate scholar Gng Zi Xiang on how his scholarship has provided him with valuable mentorship and educational advancement opportunities, and why he regards his role within HDB as an impactful and fulfilling one.
A Role in Nation Building
As a student, Zi Xiang was keen on being involved in a line of work where he could contribute to Singapore’s future. “I wanted a career that marries my interest in engineering with my desire to contribute to nation-building,” he recounts. Now aged 26, the Civil Engineer in HDB’s Building & Infrastructure Group is happy that his job in HDB enables him to make a positive impact on the lives of Singaporeans.
Zi Xiang’s day-to-day job scope entails working in collaboration with other government agencies to provide residents with essential infrastructure that improves their quality of life. He describes how HDB supports his personal mission to contribute to nation building, “HDB not only has a culture of engineering excellence but is also deeply committed to its social mission of creating vibrant and sustainable towns as well as building cohesive communities.”
Zi Xiang is also thrilled that his work places him at the very forefront of initiatives that leverage the latest smart technologies to spur national progress. Currently, he is part of the team working on Singapore’s pioneer polder development at Pulau Tekong, a first-of-its kind mega-project in Singapore that substantially reduces the amount of sand needed for land reclamation works. “This is an example of how HDB is constantly on the lookout for innovative work processes and solutions, and I appreciate working in such a forward-looking work environment,” Zi Xiang elaborates.
Gng Zi Xiang
HDB Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
Infrastructure & Reclamation Department, Building & Infrastructure Group
Mentorship and Development Opportunities
Upon award of the scholarship, Zi Xiang was introduced to his mentor, a senior staff at HDB, who had a wealth of experience to share. It was through this mentorship that he received empowering advice, words of encouragement, and new opportunities to further develop his skills. “My mentor arranged a vacation attachment in the Building & Infrastructure Group which was tailored to my specialisation in Civil Engineering,” Zi Xiang recalls, “It was a fruitful experience as I saw how the knowledge I acquired in university could be applied at work.”
HDB’s commitment to the personal and professional development of its scholars was also evident when it supported Zi Xiang’s request to undertake a year abroad in the Netherlands during his third year of studies at Imperial College London. This opportunity enabled him to further his education at Delft University of Technology’s world class Civil Engineering department. He recounts how the opportunity enriched his learning, “Pursuing engineering in two different countries – the UK and the Netherlands – was particularly valuable because it helped me to appreciate the fact that engineering decisions are not just influenced by the physical environment, but are also shaped by the social context.”
A Meaningful Endeavour
At present, Zi Xiang is involved in a number of research and development projects to improve the design and construction of land reclamation works. “This involves partnering research institutes and institutes of higher learning to carry out desk studies and research test trials, which I find stimulating and enjoyable,” he explains. The sizeable scale of HDB also means that there will be an abundance of new vistas awaiting Zi Xiang. “The opportunity to innovate and explore possibilities in a large organisation like HDB excites me,” he muses.
Zi Xiang’s career satisfaction can be attributed to his effort in choosing an organisation whose mission aligns with his personal ambition. “I took some time to deliberate before applying for the HDB scholarship,” Zi Xiang explains. Finding the right fit for one’s line of study and career path requires some mulling over. He further advises, “Speak to your parents and teachers, identify a suitable area of study you will enjoy, and most importantly, seek a career that is in line with your personal values and aspirations.”