Left: Kendra Puah, Assistant
Manager, Policy at LTA, is a
recipient of the LTA Overseas
Undergraduate Scholarship, and
has a Bachelor of Accountancy
from Nanyang Technological
University and a Master of
Science in Economics and
Business Strategy from Imperial
Right: Low Tian Leng is currently a Deputy Director in LTA. He is a LTA Local Undergraduate Scholars and holds a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering) from the National University of Singapore.
LTA spearheads land transport developments in Singapore. It is constantly planning and implementing the newest innovations and land transport solutions to create a better connected and more sustainable city. Guiding its actions is the Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040, which outlines specific milestones to make our land transport system convenient, well-connected, and fast.
Every player in this plan has a vital part, from Low Tian Leng, a veteran who has worked in LTA for a decade, to Puah Yi Xuan, Kendra, who has just finished her master’s degree in Economics and Business Strategy and joined the organisation for a year. The only commonality between the two is that they are recipients of scholarships from LTA. They fill us in on their experiences working for LTA.
Keeping It Moving
When Tian Leng was a child, he vividly remembers discussing transport matters with his father, a bus captain with SBS Transit. This awakened an interest in transport as a subject, eventually leading to a 10-year long career with LTA.
At the time when he was considering his career options, he wished to work directly with the transport system, something only LTA offered. “Within the engineering fraternity in Singapore, there are not many organisations that offer the opportunity to work so closely with and on the trains,” he explains. “The LTA Scholarship gave me the chance to be part of this larger Public Transport team that has been managing a tremendous number of projects.”
Transport also plays a more intrinsic, societal-level role in society. Kendra illuminates: “In my opinion, transportation is essential for countries as it creates equality of access to employment and services.”
It is this deep desire to be of service to society that made her choose the LTA Scholarship. “It resonated in me that working in the public sector will allow me to contribute to the wellbeing of Singaporeans, and the future of Singapore,” she elaborates.
“What better agency to work in than the transport planning agency of Singapore, where one has the opportunity to work on policies and plans that have a far-reaching, long-lasting impact on society?”
Many Tracks to Success
The LTA is one of the largest statutory boards in Singapore, and its size left Kendra in awe when she started work there. “Before joining LTA, it never dawned on me how massive the organisation is, and how wide-ranging the job scopes within the organisation are,” she recalls.
Every one of these jobs is essential for LTA to continue its work. “It is quite fascinating how most projects require inputs from multiple disciplines, and hence require different divisions to work together quite often,” Kendra describes. Her current work in financing policies to balance financial stability for the Public Transport (PT) industry straddles many different jobs, and can require the cooperation of up to six divisions.
And as she has just started with LTA, she can look forward to taking up other roles during her time there. “It has only been a year so far, and I’m very excited to explore the many other areas of work within the LTA family. LTA is one of the biggest statutory agencies in Singapore, and there is no lack of interesting and exciting job scopes within the agency,” she suggests.
Tian Leng has also experienced firsthand the dynamic and multifaceted career opportunities on offer during his 10-year career with LTA, where he rose from Engineer to Deputy Director. “LTA is a large organisation with a myriad of multifaceted work scopes that empower and enlighten me in every step of my career, with every posting I have been through,” he smiles.
His current team is in Rolling Stock and Depot Engineering, which works closely with the rest of LTA in delivering new trains, implementing engineering designs and ensuring compliance with international standards. They also study technological innovations and enhancements for trains, exploring 5G, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, supercapacitors and carbon-fibre car body structures - a staggering body of work for a single team, let alone the many divisions within the organisation.
As Tian Leng and Kendra show, LTA is an organisation where opportunities for advancement abound at any point of a career.
Moving with Passion
When asked about his decade of experience at LTA, Tian Leng is surprised. “This is a Schrödinger’s cat situation which I didn’t realise!” he chuckles. “I think the fact is time flies when you are kept busy with work that you enjoy doing! Passion and commitment are key sustaining factors when you are mired in many challenging issues in Singapore.”
He would like prospective scholars to have the same passion and commitment, but also recommends practical actions. “They could start from the various internships, school attachments, and workshops at LTA to understand the diverse work that the organisation does. Make use of the opportunities to speak to our various teams to find out how they lead, create and innovate for Singapore’s transport needs. Most important of all, consider your daily commute; as we appreciate what we have (or don’t have now), what would you do to make these all the better for your children?”
Looking towards the future is especially important, as Kendra emphasises as well. “The transport industry is likely to see immense growth and breakthroughs in the next decade or so, with technological advancements and growing interest in environmental sustainability,” she reports.
She ends with words of encouragement: “If you are interested in taking an active role to shape the future of Singapore’s transportation system, you should definitely consider the LTA Undergraduate Scholarship.”