Left: Darren Tay Yue Yi, SgIS Mid-Term Local Scholar,
has a degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering at NTU and is placed at Advanced Micro Devices (Singapore) Pte Ltd (AMD).
Right: Phneah Kai Ting, SgIS Full-Term Scholar, has just begun her attachment at one of the National Council of Social Service (NCSS)’s member agencies after graduating from NUS with a degree in Arts & Social Science (Psychology).
Since its beginnings in 2012, the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) has stood out as the only multi-industry scholarship offered by 75 leading organisations in Singapore’s strategic sectors in partnership with the Singapore government.
An example of SgIS’ full-service pathway, Phneah Kai Ting has taken up the SgIS Full-Term with National Council of Social Service (NCSS), and the scholarship not only supported her undergraduate studies in Arts & Social Science (Psychology) at NUS but also provided development opportunities such as an attachment with NCSS.
SgIS also offers a mid-term scholarship for those who make their decision later in their academic career. Darren Tay Yue Yi, SgIS Mid-Term Local Scholar, credited the scholarship with helping him pursue his studies in Electrical & Electronics Engineering at NTU, and set him up to work at Advanced Micro Devices (Singapore) Pte Ltd (AMD) upon graduation.
BrightSparks caught up with the duo, and got their thoughts on their respective careers.
SgIS is outstanding for sponsoring studies in many different industries. How did you get interested in your respective fields?
Kai Ting: I’m a people person so I always knew that I would work in a people-centric field. What really catapulted me into social service was my year-long project with the Dyslexia Association of Singapore when I was 14, where we conducted free Chinese enrichment programs for primary school children.
I’ve never stopped volunteering since. I know that social service is where my heart is at because no matter how bumpy the journey may be, seeing how much participants have grown always leaves me feeling fulfilled.
Darren: My interest in electronics started out with PC gaming, which stands out as an area where available consumer hardware is pushed to its limits. Over time, my interest grew to encompass not just the games themselves, but the hardware that makes them possible.
In the end, it was the prospect of working in an industry where I can experience its progress and achievements first-hand that got me interested in electronics.
In your opinion, why should people pursue a scholarship?
Kai Ting: There are so many reasons! Primarily, job security – especially pertinent in a tumultuous time like now. If you are certain of the field you want to work in, having a scholarship means that you get early and secure access to your dream job.
Also, the financial incentive of a scholarship is a huge plus point. Not only does it alleviate your financial burden of paying tuition fees, it enables you to pursue a multitude of university experiences. Moreover, a scholarship comes with its own social network, allowing you to meet like-minded individuals.
Darren: A great reason to pursue a scholarship such as SgIS is that it allows one to secure their dream job even before senior year. It also allows a student to focus on their final year where the courses will be most relevant after graduation.
Furthermore, a scholarship provides greater opportunities for both personal and professional growth through programmes such as the SgIS Scholars’ Development and Engagement Programme, and scholars enjoy internal job rotation at their sponsoring organisations.
How did you discover SgIS?
Kai Ting: Through BrightSparks! It’s my go-to one-stop platform for looking at scholarships in industries I’m interested in. After my GCE-A Levels, I was looking through the BrightSparks magazine and website for social service scholarships and that’s where I found SgIS.
Darren: During my semester internship at AMD, there was an event held to promote AMD’s new partnership with SgIS as a sponsoring organisation. There was a presentation on SgIS and a Q&A session where we got to pose questions to the AMD team directly. It left me intrigued and eager to find out more about what SgIS had to offer, which eventually led me to apply for the scholarship.
What was the defining factor that made you apply for SgIS? Especially for Darren, why did you apply for the mid-term scholarship?
Kai Ting: I was really drawn to SgIS as it allows you to simultaneously apply to five different sponsoring organisations through one application process, which was extremely convenient. Moreover, there were several organisations that aligned with my interest to work in a people-centric field, so SgIS was the perfect opportunity for me to send my application to all these organisations at one go.
Most importantly, I was really set on entering the social service with a psychology background and the SgIS-NCSS was my dream scholarship.
Darren: AMD has been mounting a comeback recently, gaining customer confidence and presence in the industry. I was excited to be a part of this growing journey with AMD, and with my family and colleagues’ support, was inspired to join AMD as a scholar.
The SgIS Mid-Term allowed me to “get my feet wet” so I could be 100% sure that AMD was a good fit for me. Three years of undergraduate study in electronics engineering and a full semester at the sponsoring organisation gave me the conviction to fully commit myself to a scholarship.
How are you looking to apply what you have learnt at your workplace?
Kai Ting: Definitely to apply psychological knowledge directly into the client-focused work that I do. Additionally, I hope to transfer soft skills such as critical thinking and creative problem solving to help clients meet their needs. My writing and research skills have also been honed in university and I believe they will be valuable tools that support me in my work.
Darren: Throughout my undergraduate studies, I have developed both soft skills and hard skills that I hope to bring to my workplace.
Regarding soft skills, I believe the presentation skills I have developed during the various end of internship and project presentations will help me to convey my work more efficiently to my colleagues in the future.
As for hard skills, my coursework included reliability analysis, semiconductor properties and microprocessor architecture. These topics are highly relevant to my job scope in my sponsoring organisation, making me a more effective contributor to my future workplace.
What advice would you give to people looking to take on SgIS?
Kai Ting: Just give it a shot! Cheesy line, but, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. My A-Levels results weren’t stellar but my volunteering experiences held testament to my passion for the social service and I think that was what earned me my scholarship.
Darren: Go for it! There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by putting yourself out there.
A tip I would like to share is to have a clear idea of where your passions and strengths lie. You would only be able to convince the sponsoring organisation to take you up if you yourself are convinced this is the career path you want to tread.
Darren’s talents are as multifaceted as his scholarship. In his free time, he has learnt how to play various musical instruments including the piano, oboe and harmonica.