Singaporeans are experiencing longer life expectancy. Statistics have shown that today, one in two Singaporeans aged 65 is going to live to age 85 and one in three is going to live to age 90 and beyond. With a rapidly ageing population, it is increasingly important to ensure that Singaporeans are financially well-prepared for retirement. While retirement may seem like a topic in the distant future for most young people, the work of Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board appealed to Veronica Loy Pei Xin and Josiah Chia Jun Kit.
Veronica, who is now Manager of Retirement Schemes, and Josiah, Senior Manager of Healthcare Projects Office, share about the rewarding work they do, and how it is like working at CPF Board.
What made you apply for the CPF Board Scholarship?
Veronica: I first took an interest in the CPF Board when I learnt, from volunteering at Meet-the-People sessions, that there were many Singaporeans who believed in the system, despite the ‘Return my CPF monies’ slogans. From healthcare, home ownership, family protection to asset enhancement, CPF Board’s comprehensive approach to ensuring a secure retirement intrigued me. I wanted to be a part of it.
Josiah: I felt that the CPF Board could enable me to have a meaningful career in public service. I was particularly drawn to the synonymy CPF Board had with every major milestone in the lives of Singaporeans – from buying a house, paying for healthcare, to preparing for retirement. Few agencies in public service provide such a diverse range of opportunities for learning and development. I was confident that becoming a part of CPF Board could provide me with a work experience that was challenging and multi-faceted.
Veronica Loy Pei Xin
CPF Board Mid-Term Local Undergraduate Scholarship
Manager (Retirement Schemes)
Tell us more about your role at CPF Board.
Veronica: The Retirement Schemes Department (RSD) administers various schemes such as the Retirement Sum Scheme and Silver Support Scheme, to better support our members’ retirement needs. I am part of the Medical Grounds Schemes team within the RSD, and we serve CPF members who are permanently unfit for work, mentally unsound or terminally ill. Besides processing members’ applications to withdraw CPF on these medical grounds, we also continually improve our operational processes. A large part of our job also involves lending an empathetic ear to members and earning their trust. My portfolio is challenging, complex, and at times emotionally wrenching. Yet, I find it very meaningful and rewarding when I am able to help these CPF members.
Josiah: In my four years with CPF Board, I have worked in the Policy Department, and went on secondment to the Ministry of Manpower before returning to join CPF Board’s Healthcare Projects Office (HPO). At HPO, my role involves providing operational support to the Ministry of Health in their study and review of healthcare schemes. I have had the opportunity to work on policies that affect a wide array of issues such as retirement, housing, and self-employment.
Josiah Chia Jun Kit
CPF Board Mid-Term Local Undergraduate Scholar
Senior Manager, Healthcare Projects Office
Give us an idea of the culture at CPF Board.
Veronica: The close-knit culture in the Board is unrivalled. The department goes for lunch together regularly, and my colleagues and I have shared many wonderful times – both in and outside of the office. We recently went for an overseas trip together, and are now planning an overseas diving trip!
I am inspired by the people in the Board, especially the team I work with. Their wide array of skills and experience, coupled with their ability to gain the trust of members, is something I admire deeply. The management is not only smart and open-minded, they are also nurturing. Working with them pushes me to step out of my comfort zone. In fact, one of my superiors encouraged a can-do attitude in me and I went on to emcee a Board-wide event– something I never thought I would do!
Josiah: CPF Board is like a family with a nurturing and supportive culture. Officers are encouraged to be proactive and voice their opinions, rather than simply following instructions. When mistakes are made, the focus is always to learn how to avoid repeating the error, rather than penalising those at fault.
CPF Board, being a large organisation, is made up of people from all walks of life. We may not always agree on everything, but we believe in fostering a healthy team spirit as a team can only perform effectively by respecting each member’s views and learning from one another.
How does it feel to touch people’s lives and have an impact on their situation?
Veronica: Knowing that what I do makes a difference to others’ lives motivates me to do my best every day. A simple thank you from members can be very rewarding, especially after a tough period of work! I feel privileged that my work allows me to touch people’s lives on a daily basis, both on a micro level when we work on individual cases, and macro level when we carry out operational policy reviews.
Josiah: To have the opportunity to witness how the work I do makes a difference in someone’s life is an immense motivation, and acts as the fuel that keeps me going. Part and parcel of CPF Board’s work is being empathetic to our members’ needs and keeping in touch with the layman’s experience, so it is important that our work remains impactful.
Any advice for those thinking of applying for the CPF Board Scholarship?
Veronica: If you are looking for a rewarding career in public service, consider the CPB Board. Thereafter, find out how your skill set fits into the Board and work on your aspirations. Ultimately, CPF Board is not just looking for academic excellence. You must be driven to give back to the community, be a team player, and show a thirst for personal and professional development.
Josiah: Being a CPF Board scholar has given me new insights on how government policies are designed and implemented, and helped me to develop both professionally and personally. Consider the CPF Board Scholarship if you are looking for a challenging and meaningful career in public service. My advice to prospective applicants would be to think about what you have to offer to the organisation, and how you want to make a difference in the lives of Singaporeans as part of the CPF Board.