Investing in one’s security for the retirement years through lifelong income, healthcare financing and home financing is what Singaporeans, supported by the CPF Board, can look forward to doing.
The CPF Board is similarly dedicated to investing in its staff. Both 28-year-old Pamela Yeo and 27-year-old Jeslyn Su, who are CPF Board Undergraduate Scholars, are equally grateful that the CPF Board was supportive of their choice of major and did not impose restrictions on their choice of study, as the CPF Board welcomes and appreciates people with diverse experiences and knowledge.
Pamela Yeo Li Ping
CPF Board Scholar
Designation: Senior Manager
(Corporate Strategy & Resourcing)
Studied: Bachelor of Arts, Middlebury College, US
Pamela Yeo: I found out about the CPF Board Undergraduate Scholarship through the BrightSparks portal. The selection process included a psychometric assessment and multiple interviews. I was attracted to the scholarship because of the CPF staff I spoke with – they were sincere, professional and evidently enjoyed their work.
During my undergraduate days under the liberal arts curriculum, I explored a range of disciplines, which was both a fun and humbling experience. Although my favourite classes may not have had direct relevance to my job, they have collectively made me a more intellectually curious and articulate person.
Jeslyn Su: When I was 18, I was certain I wanted to work in the public service for the benefit of Singaporeans. The friendly and open culture here at the CPF Board thus attracted me to take up the scholarship and allowed me to pursue my degree overseas. My undergraduate days were extremely fun! I had a lot of freedom and the opportunity to travel during term breaks.
I also enjoyed the liberal arts curriculum offered in the US, where I could explore various interests. For example, even though I was majoring in Economics, I also had the chance to take Astronomy and Food Nutrition classes.
A Plethora of Learning Opportunities
From attending courses and seminars to overseas trips, the CPF Board provides ample learning and training opportunities and exposure for its staff, who are encouraged to embark on a lifelong learning journey with the organisation.
Pamela: I’ve attended courses on policy and economics at the Civil Service College and also been on a couple of overseas study trips. The Board also sponsored my studies under the Chartered Financial Analyst program, which equipped me with skills and knowledge relevant to my area of work. My secondment to the Ministry of Finance was a valuable opportunity for me to experience policy-making from a different perspective.
Jeslyn: I have been on overseas study trips to Australia and Malaysia to attend conferences with our senior management. My secondment to the Ministry of Health was also a good learning opportunity to understand the more varied aspects of policy-making. Attending local workshops and seminars which are relevant to our work scope are also an integral part of our job.
During my tertiary studies, I was also given a chance to be attached to almost all the departments in the CPF Board, and these valuable experiences gave me a better understanding of the CPF Board’s mission and operations. I particularly enjoyed the day where I was allowed to shadow our customer service executives while they were attending to CPF members.
A Rewarding Career
Pamela’s first posting in the CPF Board was to the Policy Department, followed by a two-year secondment to the Ministry of Finance. She returned to the CPF Board in July last year and is now working in the Corporate Strategy & Resourcing department.
As a Senior Manager in Corporate Strategy & Resourcing, a large portion of Pamela’s work entails the development and execution of corporate strategy to drive the Board’s performance. She also works with internal and external stakeholders to both ensure a robust governance structure for the organisation and establish clear accountabilities for performance.
Jeslyn Su Yingxin
CPF Board Scholar
Designation: Manager (Service Planning & Research)
Studied: Master of Philosophy in Economics, University of Cambridge, UK
Bachelor of Arts, University of California,
Jeslyn has also benefitted greatly from her three postings thus far, all of which have given her fresh perspectives. Her first posting at the CPF Board was to the Policy Department, where she worked on voluntary contribution and retirement policies. She was then seconded to the Ministry of Health where she reviewed policies to help Singaporeans afford their healthcare, particularly in the healthcare insurance sector (MediShield and Integrated Shield plans).
Thereafter, Jeslyn returned to the CPF Board to focus on improving customer service for CPF members. As a Manager in the Service Planning & Research department, she is involved in researching and implementing ideas which allow for the revitalising and improving of service delivery to all CPF members – a responsibility which involves plenty of teamwork with her co-workers from all corners of the organisation. For example, they look at how to streamline services across all of the CPF Board’s different service channels.
Pamela: The scope of some projects can be daunting at first, especially for work that spans several functions. I spend a fair bit of time talking with people from different departments to learn about what they do and their views on how certain processes can be improved.
At the CPF Board, there are no textbook solutions to anything – most challenges require a mix of realism, innovation and thoughtful stakeholder management. I’m constantly learning new things and skills on the job! One of my valuable learning experiences was working on changes to the CPF contribution rate policies, and it was gratifying to see tangible results announced and implemented.
Jeslyn: CPF policies have a big impact on every Singaporean. We spend our days thinking and working hard to improve things for Singaporeans, be it CPF policies or our service quality. I find it meaningful that my work would benefit fellow Singaporeans, including my own family, friends and myself!
In addition, there are also numerous inter-dependent CPF schemes, and no single officer can be an expert in all the different schemes and rules. In my role, I have to understand the full impact of any proposed changes to policies or processes to avoid unintended consequences. To carry out this duty, I have to collaborate with and tap on the knowledge of the subject matter specialists from the different departments in the CPF Board.
Growth and Fun
Challenges and difficulties may be inevitable in their course of work, but the skills that Pamela and Jeslyn have picked up at the CPF Board and the warm and friendly working environment certainly makes it worth their while.
Pamela: Ever since joining the CPF Board, I have grown in confidence and resilience as a result of having to manage multiple workloads and stakeholders under tight deadlines. I’ve also picked up and improved on my teamwork and communication skills in particular, given that the Board is a large organisation with a wide range of functions and a pretty diverse workforce. Over here, we have a very nurturing environment for young officers as the management makes an effort to get to know their staff on a personal level and to help develop their strengths.
Jeslyn: I have grown to have a better appreciation of the trade-offs and nuances that go into policy-making. I have also learnt a lot by simply observing the people around me and picking up their skills, such as problem-solving, along the way. In addition, I am constantly improving my writing and presentation skills on the job as well as how to work with and manage internal and external stakeholders such as various Ministries with different interests.
My colleagues are very friendly and welcoming, which makes it less daunting to join a large organisation (the CPF Board has about 1,800 staff). There are also various board-wide activities to join and have fun together in, such as inter-departmental games (ranging from basketball to Scrabble), weekly walk-jogs at East Coast and lunch-time dance classes! At the CPF Board, we value work-life excellence in every sense of the word.