As the Secretariat for MaritimeONE (Outreach NEtwork), the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) works closely with the Singapore Government and the private maritime sector to attract bright, young talents into the maritime industry. Its MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme grooms promising individuals to be future leaders in the maritime industry.
The MaritimeONE scholarships are sponsored by some of the most reputable names in the maritime industry. These firms are committed to investing in their scholars and preparing them to take advantage of the range of career opportunities that will be available to them at the company when they graduate.
We speak to Gee Song Xi, 26, and Mavis Chia, 22, to learn more about their decision to join the maritime industry and the opportunities they have enjoyed as MaritimeONE scholars.
Gee Song Xi
PIL – MaritimeONE Scholar
Designation: Executive, Cost Management Unit
Studied: Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies (Honours), Nanyang Technological University
A Scholarship of Opportunities
Song Xi’s interest in the maritime industry was sparked by a visit to a university enrolment exhibition at Suntec City back in 2007. He recalls, “I visited the MaritimeONE booth where the exhibitors were very forthcoming in telling me about their experiences in the industry and how vibrant it could be. I was struck by the sheer scale of the industry and I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this bustling sector.”
Song Xi then took a leap of faith by taking up the Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies at Nanyang Technological University, a course which involved a mix of both business and engineering. Furthermore, Song Xi signed up for the MaritimeONE Scholarship as he believed it would provide him with many opportunities and broaden his understanding of the industry. “I must say that I have indeed greatly benefited from the head-start I gained over my peers!” enthuses Song Xi, who is currently working with Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd – his sponsoring organisation.
For Mavis, the undergraduate at Singapore Management University (SMU) was first attracted to the maritime industry when she was required to help to load a forty-foot container during an overseas voluntary programme to Tanzania. Upon encountering the freight bottleneck in their operations, she realised that the transportation of goods was not something to be taken for granted. With her curiosity piqued, Mavis went on to take up maritime economics to further her knowledge in this area, and she has never looked back since.
As a MaritimeONE scholar sponsored by Fednav, Canada’s largest international dry-bulk ocean transportation group, Mavis believes that the unique opportunities she enjoys under the MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme will give her a competitive edge over other graduates who wish to enter the maritime industry in future.
Plumbing the Depths of the Maritime Industry
Song Xi is currently working as a Cost Management Unit Executive at PIL, where he is in charge of PIL’s costing at several ports. He shares, “A typical day at work involves liaising with overseas agents to understand their local operations better. I might also have to travel abroad if the situation calls for it.
“At the same time, I would have to negotiate for efficient services at competitive rates with service vendors (such as terminals, depots and towage companies), and maintain close relationships with them to ensure that the necessary requirements are in place.”
Mavis Chia Wei Shan
Fednav – MaritimeONE Scholar
Studying: Bachelor of Science (Economics) with Maritime Economics Concentration (MEC), Singapore Management University
Mavis’ specialisation in the Maritime Economics Concentration programme at SMU is also equipping her with the essential knowledge and skills to do well in her future career. She tells us, “Being exposed to modules like Maritime Economics, Shipping Finance and Port Economics, I believe the rigorous training has honed my financial analytics and research skills and this will serve me well in my future career in the maritime industry.”
A Variety of Experiences
During his internship with PIL in his final year of studies, Song Xi was attached to a PIL container ship, Kota Nipah, which took him on an unforgettable seven-day voyage to Sri Lanka. He recalls, “It was an amazing onboard experience to spend a week out at sea with the crew, learning various technical skills and adjusting to life away from family and friends. Independence and resilience were my biggest takeaways from the trip.”
In addition to undertaking various internships at PIL during his summer holidays, Song Xi had the opportunity to spend a semester abroad in Oslo, Norway, for an overseas exchange programme that all third-year Maritime Studies students participate in as part of their course curriculum. This provided him with the opportunity to travel extensively, visiting many parts of Europe when time permitted.
Thanks to the MaritimeONE Scholarship and the industry’s multitude of opportunities, Song Xi believes that he has grown to become a more courageous and independent person. He adds, “All the networking sessions have groomed me to be more vocal and skilful when communicating with my counterparts from all over the world. I have also built up strong networks in the local shipping community!”
Mavis adds, “I attended a service learning project at a home for the elderly under the MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme earlier this year, and as a scholar who has received so much, it was truly gratifying to be able to give back to society in some way!”
Being a young scholar, Mavis still has much to look forward to. She concludes with a bit of advice for aspiring MaritimeONE scholars, saying, “Seize any opportunity you have and work hard. Whether you are attending a networking session or are on a site visit, always be ready to introduce yourself because you are the best representation of yourself.”