Vanessa Koh is a Senior Engineer with BCA and BCA Local Undergraduate Scholarship recipient. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering, specialising in Civil Engineering from NUS.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has a role to play in almost every single building in Singapore. Broadly speaking, it oversees Singapore's built environment sector, which includes areas such as safety, quality, inclusiveness, sustainability, and productivity. Its mission is to transform the Built Environment sector and shape a liveable and smart built environment for Singapore.
BCA also understands that the development and transformation of the built environment sector is possible if it pays similar meticulous attention to its scholars' career growth paths.
Case in point is BCA Local Undergraduate Scholar Vanessa Koh. After completing her bond with BCA, the organisation further invested in her growth by sending her for an industry attachment at KCL Consultants Pte Ltd to gain industry experience.
Thanks to BCA's holistic approach to career development, Vanessa has a plethora of experience and knowledge to draw from as she gets assigned to various roles and placements within BCA and the sector.
We caught up with Vanessa, who shared her perspectives as a BCA scholar, and her fulfilling experience shaping Singapore's built environment.
To start with, we understand you are a mid-term scholar. How did you discover the BCA Local Undergraduate Scholarship, and why did you select it?
I discovered the scholarship during my undergraduate days via BrightSparks website, actually! I was initially attracted to the scholarship because BCA offered a mid-term scholarship, which meant that the scholarship would cover my tuition fees for my previous years as well as for my exchange and remaining two years in NUS.
Of the different scholarships offered by other agencies, I eventually decided to choose BCA as I wanted to be involved in the shaping and transformation of the built environment sector.
You went on to complete a Degree in Engineering, specialising in Civil Engineering. What sort of support did BCA provide for your studies?
Being on the scholarship, I was able to independently finance and participate in my student exchange programme to Montreal, Canada. This exchange programme allowed me to gain a different perspective and broaden my technical knowledge on the design for buildings in a different climate.
You returned to BCA after your studies. Tell us more about your postings in BCA.
I started out at the Manpower Planning Department for about 2 years. In this posting, I formulated and reviewed manpower policies that shape the built environment sector. After that, I was posted to the Enforcement and Structural Inspection Department, where my colleagues and I implemented periodic structural inspection regimes to ensure that buildings are properly maintained.
With both postings, I learnt that BCA works closely with other agencies and industry stakeholders in the formulation of our policies. These engagements are integral to the public sector as issues become more complex and multi-dimensional over time. In response, we must tap on diverse knowledge and perspectives to deliver the best solutions.
Can you share more about your work at your current attachment with KCL Consultants Pte Ltd?
In my current attachment with KCL Consultants Pte Ltd, I aid in the structural design of two residential projects and collaborate with other engineers to provide design solutions, such as the use of Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC). I am thankful to be given the opportunity to undergo this industry attachment that allowed me to gain industry experience and further develop myself professionally by sharpening my technical skills.
It really shows how BCA supports its staff in continuous learning. What other opportunities are available?
There are diverse job opportunities here at BCA, from policy making, to ensuring the safety of the entire lifecycle of a building, to researching on the latest technologies to improve work processes on site.
Also, BCA supports its scholars' work by giving us various growth opportunities. We are often sent for various courses and trainings to expand our knowledge. Additionally, our HR always puts in the effort to link up scholars in BCA. This has been useful as we can share our experiences in our different departments and learn from each other.
Lastly, what would you say to convince someone to join your organisation?
In BCA, what you do will have an impact on the Built Environment Sector for Singapore. As a key regulator for the sector, BCA gives you the opportunity to help shape and transform the sector for the future.