Left: Haiqal Anwar Bin Harneis, SGRail Local Mid-Term Scholar, is currently an intern attached to RAOM (Rail Asset, Ops & Maintenance), Asset Engineering (Infrastructure). He is currently studying a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at NTU.
Right: Also reading a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at NTU is fellow SGRail Local Mid-Term Scholar, Abdal Hakeem Syaakir Bin Abdullhakam. He is currently an intern attached to RAOM (Rail Asset, Ops & Maintenance), Asset Engineering (Power & Services).
Our rail network has constantly been working behind the scenes to make journeys convenient, connected, safe and comfortable. The rail industry strives to improve the experience of everyday travel in Singapore while keeping a dynamic city on the move. Working with like-minded professionals, you will push the frontiers of engineering and technology to make our commuters’ travel experience faster, smarter and more convenient.
If this is what you are looking for, the rail industry is the place to start and build your career. The SGRail Industry Scholarship offers an unrivalled opportunity to build and shape the future of the rail industry in Singapore. It is bursting with eye-opening new experiences, as scholars will be exposed to projects in Land Transport Authority, SBS Transit Pte Ltd and SMRT Trains Ltd through a structured developmental programme.
Haiqal Anwar Bin Harneis and Abdal Hakeem Syaakir Bin Abdullhakam are two who have taken up the opportunity and signed up for a promising future in the rail network. They detailed to us their journey, their hopes, and most importantly, why SGRail.
How did you get interested in the rail industry?
Haiqal: When I was studying, I had a long commute every day from my home in the east to Singapore Polytechnic in the west. Since I took a long train ride every day, I began to appreciate the wide connectivity of Singapore’s rail transport system. As years passed, my intrigue and passion for the rail industry grew. I thought to myself: “How can we, the next generation of engineers, enhance the rail transport system for even smoother journeys?”
Hakeem: When I was in kindergarten, I would ask my parents if we could go on the LRT to go sight-seeing around the neighbourhood. Besides my childhood experiences, my interest peaked during my overseas travels when I experienced other countries’ rail services. Long waiting times and breakdowns were frequent, and I appreciated anew our rail systems back home. These experiences made me develop an interest and want to pursue a career in the rail industry.
Why did you chose the SGRail Industry Scholarship?
Haiqal: SGRail scholars will be exposed to projects with both the LTA and the public transport operators. I felt that it would give me a more well-rounded exposure, as I would be working with both the LTA and SMRT Trains, providing me with the opportunity to experience working in both the public and private sector.
Hakeem: Like Haiqal, I was drawn to the unique structure of the scholarship that exposes scholars to projects both public and private.
Joining SBS Transit under the SGRail Industry Scholarship allowed me to obtain ground experience from the public transport operator as an engineer. Such experiences will allow me to better understand the problems on the ground and help me make better decisions. At the same time, I will also have the opportunity to be seconded to LTA during my tenure with them for the added exposure.
We understand you are both studying at NTU currently. What sort of support has the SGRail Industry Scholarship given you?
Haiqal: I had my first internship with LTA under the scholarship which was a good and eye-opening experience. In the coming vacation, I will be taking up a summer internship with SMRT Trains, exposing me to rolling stock, which is an experience I’m looking forward to. It would be an opportunity to see the inner workings of the transportation system used by many on a daily basis.
Through these experiences, I hope that the skills picked up would enable me to help further develop our transport system, bringing a positive impact to the lives of our public transport users.
Hakeem: The scholarship has given me great exposure to the industry. For example, I was involved in a dialogue with former Minister of Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, where we discussed the future of the local rail industry and many exciting projects in the pipeline. In addition, together with other scholars, we had an informal dialogue session with SBS Transit’s CEO, Mr Cheng Siak Kian, where he provided insights and advice to us.
I am grateful for these opportunities provided by the scholarship as it gave me valuable experiences and helped to boost my confidence as a budding young engineer.
We hear a lot about the internships available under the SGRail Industry Scholarship. What was it like for you both, and how has that prepared you for working in the industry?
Haiqal: I feel that the internship helped me understand trackwork and permanent-way assets, to better understand the transport system. I learnt a lot about the asset management of trackwork in our rail systems, and even got a chance to go down onto the tracks for rail inspection.
Understanding the assets, what goes on behind the scenes, and learning about the functions of the various assets are crucial in better appreciating the rail industry. I was given the opportunity to not only see how various assets worked together to create a system, but also how different departments work together to run the rail industry in Singapore which has been an enriching experience overall.
Hakeem: I am currently attached to Rail Assets, Operations and Maintenance, under the Asset Engineering (Power and Services) division. My work scope requires me to understand the current condition of the Operating Assets and recommend the appropriate maintenance and asset replacement programmes. In addition, I am developing a framework for LTA to use for all future condition assessments. This internship is really an eye-opening experience as it very technical, allowing me to make use of what I have learnt in school and think critically to solve problems.
My internship has made me realise how important communication is in delivering a project. I have also learnt to look at the bigger picture to understand how and why a system or item functions in a specific way or manner.
The internships seem to have prepared you well for your upcoming positions in the rail network. What are your career aspirations?
Haiqal: I think that the thing I’m most looking forward to most is the hands-on and practical aspects of rail work. I hope to gain a deeper understanding of Singapore’s transport system and its inner workings.
Hakeem: Ever since I started studying engineering, I have always asked myself how I can apply what I have learnt in school to not just benefit myself, but the others around me as well. Thankfully, the SGRail Industry Scholarship has given me an opportunity to do so by having an impact on Singapore’s public transportation system.
Our rail transport system plays an intrinsic role in our everyday lives. I hope to be able to use my knowledge to help further develop and enhance our rail network, bringing a positive impact to the lives of our public transport users.
Lastly, what would you say to recommend the SGRail Industry scholarship to prospective applicants?
Haiqal: If you have the passion and interest in the rail industry, go for it. SGRail Industry Scholarship would provide exposure to the industry through sharing sessions as well as internships, providing the opportunity to see everything first-hand.
Hakeem: The rail industry plays such a pivotal role in Singapore’s transportation needs. The SGRail Industry Scholarship provides you with a structured programme that will help to develop and prepare you for dynamic challenges that are commonly encountered within the rail industry.
If you are someone who has a burning desire to make an impact, then I strongly recommend this scholarship as it will equip you with the tools and knowledge to accomplish your goals.