Economic Development Board (EDB)
Features | Trade, Industry, Finance

Taking Singapore’s
Economy To Greater Heights

The Economic Development Board (EDB) plays a critical role in growing the future of Singapore’s economy. It attracts leading multi-national corporations to invest in Singapore, helping these corporations grow and improving their existing operations through innovation and increased productivity. This, in turn, creates good job opportunities that offer local talent multiple pathways for success.

As a metropolis with a prime geographic location in Southeast Asia coupled with its business-friendly policies, Singapore is a choice location for top global companies. Our country covers a wide range of industries (manufacturing, financial services, media, engineering, etc.), making Singapore an ideal location for investors to gain access to the larger ASEAN market.

The precision engineering (PE) sector is one of the pillars supporting the growth of the Singapore economy. It is a crucial enabler for the aerospace, oil & gas and electronics sectors. Today, Singapore is home to some 40,000 companies, ranging from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to large multinational corporations (MNCs), many of which have their headquarters and R&D functions located in Singapore.

A part to play in shaping Singapore’s economic future

With the advent of emerging and advanced technologies such as additive manufacturing (widely known as 3D printing), companies within the PE sector need to transform and innovate - by adopting such technologies in their industrial processes in order to remain competitive and continue to grow.

As Assistant Head of the PE Division’s Machinery & Systems team, EDB scholar Sim Zhilin works to develop, drive and execute industry strategies aimed at encouraging the adoption of emerging technologies and strengthen the talent pool for the sector, with the goal of positioning Singapore as a key location for value-added and competitive engineering production.

Sim Zhilin
EDB Scholar

Designation: Assistant Head (Machinery & Systems),
Precision Engineering (PE)

Transitioning to Centre Director based in
Stockholm, Sweden (Q3 2015)

Studied: Master of Chemical Engineering,
Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Rennes, France

Bachelor of Chemical Engineering,
Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie de Lille, France

His responsibilities may appear daunting, but Zhilin, who’s been with EDB for two-and-a-half years, certainly enjoys the challenge. Zhilin adds, “The PE sector covers a wide range of technical industries and often branches into areas like design and process software. I like how the industry is one that hones technical skills across many fields, with different processes coming together to create a product. I am excited to be part of the team that can enable progress and growth within the sector, and continue to help realise the potential for emerging technologies to become mainstream. These efforts would potentially culminate in the creation of simulating career prospects for Singaporeans, which I find rewarding.”

Encouraging talent and leadership development

EDB’s mission of attracting the right mix of international investment to create good jobs for Singaporeans means that the country will need to meet the region’s growing need for top talents and capable leaders.

Toward this end, talent development programmes have been set up to groom the next generation of leaders. In more recent times, Companies like Sony and Unilever have set up iconic Corporate Universities to build up a pipeline of global talent, partnering with EDB to design and conduct executive talent development programmes with business schools and corporate partners.

This focus on talent development is certainly a key priority at EDB itself. Corporate learning and development programmes aim to develop an officer throughout his/her career, particularly at milestone career transitions – starting as an individual contributor, to becoming a peer leader, a first-time manager, and eventually a leader of managers. Career development conversations are also enabled by a practice of job rotations, aimed at maximising the potential of every talent.

As the nature of the work necessitates interactions with investors from all over the world, EDB also supports new officers in their learning and mastery of foreign languages. In Zhilin's case, not only did he take up French lessons – he also chose to pursue an undergraduate degree in France! Immersed in an education culture that emphasises hands-on learning, Zhilin was also given the opportunity to undertake a year-long study and internship programme with a French fi m that had a laboratory in Shanghai, as part of his graduate programme. This considerably broadened his understanding of the industry.

"I am excited to be part of the team that can enable progress and growth within the sector, and continue to help realise the potential for emerging technologies to become mainstream."

He shares, “While studying in France, I was able to immerse myself in the French culture and be exposed to its rich, intricate history. This certainly went well beyond classroom learning of the French language.

“The entire experience of studying in a markedly different system, new culture and environment was certainly challenging at times. However, it was definitely rewarding. The experience has trained me well; with my fluency in French and understanding of French culture, I am able to interact effectively with management executives from French companies, as well as trade delegations from francophone countries including Africa.”

Career development enabled by a practice of job rotation

In the third quarter of 2015, Zhilin will be taking on the role of Centre Director based in EDB’s Stockholm office, where he will engage prospective investors in and around the region as well as spearhead initiatives to strengthen EDB’s economic growth strategy.

He shares, “At the end of the day, EDB’s work is challenging but rewarding nonetheless. It greatly heartens me to know that my efforts will help create stimulating career prospects for more Singaporeans from all walks of life!”