A clean and green environment in Singapore lays the perfect foundation for businesses to take root and families to enjoy a quality way of life. The key to ensuring a sustainable future for the generations to come is the maintenance of a high public health standard and the management and conservation of our precious water resources – two areas that statutory boards National Environment Agency (NEA) and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, are wholly committed to.
It is their concern for environmental sustainability, in particular the effects of global warming and climate change, that prompted National Environment & Water (NEW) scholars Lim Yimin, 24, and Michael Zhong, 28, to take on the scholarship jointly launched by both agencies and contribute to the protection of our environmental and public health. We catch up with the two engineers on their journeys thus far.
What made you apply for the NEW scholarship?
Yimin: I have always been interested in environmental issues so I chose to pursue a Diploma in Environmental and Water Technology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic for my post-secondary education. Through the course’s internships and overseas study trips, I developed a strong interest in the field of environmental engineering, specifically water and wastewater engineering. Naturally, I applied for the NEW scholarship to pursue my undergraduate studies abroad.
Michael: I have always enjoyed the outdoors and hoped to play a part in maintaining the environment that I love. I believe that the ability to protect the environment and public health while distributing scarce resources to society is a defining characteristic of an environmental engineer. Aligned with this vision, I applied for the NEW scholarship. I believe that our actions today dictate the future of the Earth, and being in NEA opens my path to contribute to these environmental causes.
National Environment & Water (NEW) Scholarship
PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency
In what ways has the scholarship benefitted you?
Yimin: The opportunity to study overseas was the most invaluable learning experience for me. I did a Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering at University College London as well as a Masters in Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London. Spending four years abroad taught me many life lessons, and I was able to grow and understand myself as an individual. This would not have been possible without the scholarship, which helps cover tuition fees and living expenses. The scholarship also provided me internships with various departments of PUB, such as the Water Reclamation Plants department, and Catchment and Waterways department, where I learnt about used water plant operations and roadside drainage planning respectively. I also got the chance to be part of the team that organised the Singapore International Water Week, which involved large scale logistics and event planning. These internships gave me a better picture of the organisation and various aspects of water management on top of practical learning experiences.
Michael: The scholarship enabled me to pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering and Business Management at Imperial College London, where I learnt how economic theory is used to analyse the markets and facilitate the allocation of resources. Coupled with training in financial management accounting, the programme deepened and broadened my perspectives, not only in environmental engineering and management, but also in areas such as industry engagements and technology development trends. The use of case studies from past experiences and understanding the law-led model and the people-management approach practised in the UK, equipped me with the knowledge and skills in project and programme management, which are beneficial to my career.
National Environment & Water (NEW) Scholarship
Engineer, Radiation Protection and Nuclear Science Department
National Environment Agency
How supportive has NEA been to you in terms of career aspirations and upgrades?
Michael: NEA supports and encourages continuous learning and upgrading of its employees. I had the opportunity to attend international and regional workshops, training courses, and various meetings and conferences, where I learnt about various nuclear power technologies and nuclear safety, applications of radiation and nuclear science in medicine and industry, and nuclear laws.
I also ventured beyond my main job scope, such as organising the CleanEnviro Summit Singapore 2018. It was a valuable experience collaborating with other departments and agencies in coordinating and planning for the international event.
How do you think PUB has provided you with a platform to make a difference to the community?
Yimin: As an engineer in PUB, I can serve the future needs of Singapore by working to ensure our country’s water security. Singapore is a water-stressed country, with limited natural water resources to support the nation’s growing water demand. Fortunately, with careful planning and advancements in technology, we have been able to build a robust system and tackle our water challenges. I’m currently part of the team working on the second phase of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System (DTSS2), Singapore’s superhighway for used water management. The DTSS is a long-term solution to Singapore’s used water needs, and also ensures the sustainability of NEWater. I am excited to contribute and make a difference by building far-reaching solutions for the sustainability of Singapore’s water supply.
Any advice for those looking to apply for this scholarship?
Michael: Be open to challenges, embrace changes, and live with humility. The NEW scholarship offers various development opportunities, but most importantly, you must be passionate about the career path that you are choosing and understand the organisation that you wish to join.