C hangi Airport is one of Asia’s best-connected airports, with over 100 airlines flying to more than 330 cities worldwide. To maintain its position as an aviation hub of choice, CAAS continually strives to foster a vibrant and competitive air transport market to provide greater convenience for travellers.
Within CAAS’ Air Transport division, CAAS scholar Roger Look takes charge of a varied portfolio that includes air hub strategy, bilateral air services relations and negotiations, approval of flight schedules and charter flights, economic regulation of airlines as well as airline engagement. He describes the division’s work culture as “fast-paced and dynamic”, as officers are expected to juggle “multiple portfolios at any one time”. He also shares that his colleagues are go-getters – people who take pride in their work and possess a sense of public-spiritedness. These qualities enable them to go the extra mile towards entrenching Singapore’s position as a first-class regional air hub.
Today, Roger brings us back to the scholarship journey that led him towards his current job, and shares how he contributed to the success of events such as the Singapore Airshow 2016.
TOWARDS AN ENRICHING JOURNEY
Roger spent some of the most formative years of his teenage life in Raffles Institution. It was there that it was instilled in him the importance of serving others by leading. As a youth, he walked through the school halls to admire the honour roll of alumni. This alumni was made up of men who eventually went on to serve and lead Singapore with distinction.
He recalls, “As a young boy then, I was inspired to follow in their footsteps. That desire to serve Singapore and its citizens, coupled with an interest in aviation, led me to CAAS!”
CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholar
Manager (Air Transport)
With his scholarship, Roger then went on to further his education in Duke in the US and Oxford in the UK, where his horizons were expanded remarkably. Studying at two of the world’s finest institutions afforded him a holistic experience that sharpened his mind and equipped him with essential life skills. He perceives that it is not so much the content which one picks up in university that is important, but the ability to engage in critical thinking, honed by rigorous tutelage at university.
In his undergraduate years, Roger also fulfilled a total of three internships with CAAS, beyond the one-internship minimum requirement of the CAAS scholarship. He completed internships with Air Transport, Aviation Industry and the Air Navigation Services Policy and Planning divisions. He found these internships useful in that they allowed him to have a taste of CAAS’ various core functions, and to meet the colleagues whom he would eventually work with.
AN ENGAGING CAREER
In his role today, Roger is witness to an exciting range of CAAS projects. The most memorable event for him this year was the Singapore Airshow 2016. Fulfilling his duty as staff officer to the Chairman of CAAS, he played his part in ensuring that this event was a phenomenal success. For those who are not aware, the Singapore Airshow is Asia’s largest aerospace and defence event. Besides the impressive range of latest state-of-the-art aviation systems on display, the Singapore Airshow is also a platform for international aviation leaders to share their knowledge and expertise. The Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit at the Singapore Airshow brought together leaders from both commercial and international delegations to discuss latest developments in the industry and identify opportunities for collaboration.
Aviation enthusiasts will be pleased to know that the excitement in CAAS is not just limited to Singapore’s friendly skies. At ground level, there are actually large and impactful development projects coming up in the next 10 to 15 years. These include Terminal 4, Project Jewel, a third runway at Changi and the mega Terminal 5.
Apart from this varied exposure, another benefit of serving with CAAS is the vast opportunities for one to grow. Roger affirms, “As a CAAS scholar, you can look forward to being stretched with challenging assignments in order to prepare you for management roles. CAAS also emphasises training and personal development for its scholars, and one can look forward to sponsorship for executive leadership development courses and postgraduate training. This is essential as he or she prepares to take on management responsibilities within CAAS.”
For those who wish to join CAAS, Roger advises them to be prepared for the dynamic challenges that await. Often, CAAS officers are required to work with different stakeholders, all of whom have different objectives, personalities and working styles. He shares, “It will be useful for fresh graduates with zero to little experience to do more ‘homework’ than others, get a sense of the different stakeholders’ views informally, anticipate the likely outcomes based on the available information, and work on securing buy-in from stakeholders even before formal meetings to ensure the highest rates of success.”
He also advocates that one needs to possess “a strong conviction to serve in Singapore’s public sector, a passion for civil aviation, a high-achiever mentality and the ability to lead”. He further adds that it is helpful if one identifies strongly with national icons like Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines, and has a relentless drive to exceed expectations. If you wish to follow in Roger’s footsteps, step up and let the CAAS scholarship open doors for you to discover your potential.