The BCA, under the ambit of the Ministry of National Development, plays a key role in driving the development of our nation. The BCA focuses on the four key areas of safety, quality, sustainability and user-friendliness. Building on them, it has successfully established high building standards and continue to create ideal living environments for all Singaporeans, setting Singapore apart from all other major cities.
BCA Scholar Jolene Lim shares her experiences with us, on what one can look forward to when they join the dynamic organisation.
For Jolene, it was only natural that she would pursue a career with BCA. Having studied Project and Facilities Management (PFM) at National University of Singapore, she has always had a passion for buildings and construction. “Though building projects can be rather complex, they are also quite fascinating. I have always been intrigued by the processes involved in constructing a building such as the methods of construction, the technologies used, as well as site management. Seeing a project from scratch to completion and being able to contribute to the process, gives me a great sense of satisfaction. I chose PFM as I thought that it was well-designed and able to strike a balance between the theoretical and practical aspects,” she enthuses.
In her third year of studies, Jolene decided to apply for the Mid-Term Undergraduate Scholarship with BCA. She tells us, “After going through several semesters in the PFM undergraduate programme, I was quite certain that I wanted to pursue a career in the built environment sector. BCA stood out as an ideal choice for me as I would be able to gain a macro view of the sector and be exposed to the range of policies in place. Together, they would allow me to gain a wealth of knowledge at the start of my career.”
BCA Mid-Term Undergraduate Scholar
Procurement Policies Department
Where Learning Never Stops
Currently, Jolene has been with BCA for close to five years. Her stint with BCA has been a colourful and varied one. She has had the opportunity to be rotated to various departments and Ministries, gaining invaluable experiences and exposure to different areas of work. She explains, “I started my journey with BCA in the Building Plan and Policies Department, where I was involved in approving submissions of building plans, conducting site inspections and granting Temporary Occupation Permits. It was interesting to see architects exercise creativity in their designs while ensuring the safety of buildings by meeting the regulatory requirements. The job has also provided me with the opportunity to meet and interact with industry stakeholders such as project owners, architects, and contractors, where I get to learn from their expertise first-hand. It was also heartening to receive compliments from people in the industry who appreciated the assistance I have rendered in helping them obtain their approvals on time.”
“I was subsequently seconded to the Ministry of Trade and Industry Pro Enterprise Panel. The secondment expanded my perspectives, exposed me to a multitude of issues faced by businesses and gave me a deeper insight on how regulatory impediments could affect businesses. I am currently with the Procurement Policies Department where I help to conceptualise, formulate and administer policies related to the procurement of construction and consultancy services,” she elaborates.
Besides the ability to take advantage of job rotations, BCA also offers their officers the opportunity to conduct studies and recommend policy changes to their management. Telling us more, Jolene says, “Working on these studies in addition to one’s daily duties, can challenge and stretch one’s potential. One of my most memorable experiences was my first project. I was tasked to implement a system of issuing written direction to the qualified person (i.e. registered architect or professional engineer) and developer in relation to their submission for building plan approval. I had to be resourceful and pro-active in approaching colleagues from other departments for advice. It was a fulfilling experience and it gave me a sense of accomplishment as my project was eventually implemented.”
Follow Your Aspirations
If your interest lies in the built environment, then BCA is clearly the place to be. Jolene recommends that anyone who wants to play a role in shaping Singapore’s built environment should apply for a scholarship with BCA. “If you are certain that you want to work in the built environment industry and public service sector, and see yourself working in BCA for the first few years of your working life, take the leap of faith and apply! Rest assured that a career with BCA will be fulfilling as you will be able to make a positive difference to the lives of Singaporeans,” she exclaims.
Concluding the interview, Jolene offers some words of wisdom for aspiring scholars. She advises, “You need to be passionate about the built environment, possess the dedication and commitment to serve the public. In addition, you should be driven by the prospect of shaping policies, and your personal vision and mission should resonate with that of the organisation.”