As a small nation with scarce natural resources, Singapore’s most valuable asset is her people. And with a knowledge-oriented economy that prioritises productivity, innovation and efficiency over sheer manpower, it is imperative that Singapore cultivates the talent required to drive her economy forward.
To do so, SgIS, in collaboration with the Singapore Government, aims to identify and develop a strong core of Singapore talent with the requisite skills and capabilities to contribute to strategic sectors in the Singapore economy. By partnering with the finest enterprises from various industries, SgIS seeks to satisfy the diverse aspirations of its scholars.
From a creative career in the arts to a front-row seat on the cutting-edge of science and engineering, SgIS scholars will be able to channel their unique passions towards advancing Singapore’s economy. Beyond sponsorships for their university education, SgIS scholars can look forward to an exciting broad-based development programme called the SgIS Scholars’ Development and Engagement Programme, which seeks to instil in them a strategic outlook, allow them to gain professional experiences and build their connections as a SgIS community.
SgIS scholars John Lim, 22, and Blenda Tan, 20, talk to us about their bright futures with SgIS and their respective sponsoring organisations. Although they have set their sights on different industries, they are both working towards the common goal of sharpening Singapore’s competitive edge in a global, 21st-Century economy.
Pursuing Their Dreams
John has always wanted to work in the public transport industry. Now a SgIS scholar with SBS Transit, John is well on his way to realise his ambition to play a pivotal role in Singapore’s public transport system. As the leading bus and rail operator in Singapore, SBS Transit carries more than three million passengers daily on its extensive bus and rail network. It is dedicated to providing the best travel experience for commuters, investing heavily in technology and training for its people.
John Lim Jia Song
SgIS Scholar with SBS Transit Ltd
Studying: Renaissance Engineering Programme,
Nanyang Technological University
As the first SgIS scholar with SBS Transit, John looks forward to pioneering opportunities with Singapore’s leading public transport operator. He shares, “I need to have a solid foundation in operations before I can even think of contributing to the public transport system. SBS Transit helps me build this foundation by giving me countless opportunities to learn about the operations of their rail network from the bottom up and take on relevant projects.”
On Blenda’s part, she was first attracted by the wide range of industries and participating organisations under SgIS. She recalls, “I attended the SgIS Fair and Information Session, where I was able to gain a deeper understanding of SgIS and the developmental opportunities offered by the participating organisations.”
Blenda eventually chose to be attached to SGX-listed Kingsmen Creatives Ltd, a leading communication design and production group with a global presence. From retail and corporate interiors, exhibitions and events, thematic and museums to alternative marketing, Kingsmen brings brand experiences to life through its integrated capabilities and holistic suite of services.
Given her keen interest in project-planning and management, it is no wonder that Blenda made Kingsmen her first choice. She says excitedly, “I am currently involved in various publicity events at school. For instance, I was head of publicity for the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business Camp and also served as the Business Manager of my dance committee!
Blenda Tan Yanying
SgIS Scholar with Kingsmen Creatives Ltd
Studying: Bachelor of Business Administration (Accountancy), National University of Singapore
“I look forward to doing similar work on a larger scale at Kingsmen, where there are even opportunities to go abroad for international exhibitions!”
John, a Renaissance Engineering Programme undergraduate at Nanyang Technological University, has already enjoyed two internships at SBS Transit. “During my first internship, I had stints in every department in the Rail Engineering division in order to gain a broader perspective of SBS Transit’s operations. I was exposed to the operating equipment and even got to walk on the MRT tracks! Of course, I also had to take a safety course to learn how to tread safely there,” he shares, smiling.
“In addition, I also underwent a two-week course on operations. I learnt about the procedures that are in place in the event of a breakdown and met with the various operations staff. To cap it all off, I was allowed to enter the Operations Control Centre of the North East Line, where all the train services for the line are controlled and coordinated round-the-clock!”
John’s second internship at SBS Transit’s Power Department was no less stimulating, and he was allowed to try his hand at real-world projects. He enthuses, “I worked for a month on an obsolescence management project – a problem where critical components are no longer in production. I studied the various practices across the industries from both the manufacturer and end-user perspectives and helped develop a framework which could be adopted in managing obsolescence.”
On Blenda’s end, she looks forward to a 10-week internship with Kingsmen this June. The NUS Business Administration (Accountancy) undergraduate tells us, “I am meeting up with Kingsmen in the meantime to discuss my upcoming internships. There is even a dedicated WhatsApp group for Kingsmen scholars where we can talk and exchange advice.”
As a SgIS scholar, Blenda has also benefited from the SgIS Scholars’ Network, a platform where scholars can benefit from the collective learning and sharing of experiences. The SgIS Scholars’ Network aims to build strong connections amongst scholars from various schools and industries. Blenda testifies to this, saying, “My meetings with other scholars have enabled me to find out more about the different industries and cultivate valuable relationships across industries.”
Over time, the Scholars’ Network will evolve into a strong network of industry leaders from Singapore’s strategic sectors who can help guide future batches of SgIS scholars to contribute to their respective industries and society. John concurs, adding, “SgIS gives its scholars rare privileges and insights that help prepare us for the industry. It can be difficult to find industry-relevant experience as a student and build up our own professional network, but the combination of internship opportunities and the Scholars’ Network enables us to do just that.”
Blenda’s passion for project-planning and publicity clearly shines through in her activities at NUS. “I’ve helped plan for dance productions and been in charge of ticketing, publicity and various promotional activities. I’m glad for all these opportunities to communicate with people and build my interpersonal skills. These are all lessons that I hope to be able to apply to my job at Kingsmen in the future,” she says.
As someone who is abundantly clear about where her passion lies, she stresses that future scholars need to be sure about their area of interest. “SgIS provides a streamlined path for its scholars into a fulfilling career of their choice. While scholars are relieved of the burden of looking for a job, this only means that they have an even greater responsibility to contribute. As a result, applicants need to be sure of their choice of organisation and industry!” she declares.
John rounds off with advice of his own. “It’s important to be humble and willing to learn. Only when you are open to new experiences and certain of how and why you want to contribute can you make the best of the multiple opportunities that are available!” he says.