Left: Geraldine Chick is a Senior Executive, Projects & Technology at Jurong Port and a MaritimeONE scholar. She has a Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies and works as a Project Manager, implementing multiple ongoing Waterfront Transformation Projects and Systems for the Operations Department.
Right: Chan Yong Da, a MaritimeONE scholar, has a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Offshore Engineering. He is a Project Engineer at Sembcorp Marine, responsible for coordinating between clients, vendors, classification societies and the production department to complete project tasks.
Maritime is awash in possibilities and is an ocean of dreams waiting to come true. Engineering, logistics, surveying, brokering… all of these are challenging yet essential and rewarding roles needed by the industry.
As the primary voice in strengthening our maritime ecosystem, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) has its periscope trained on new talents entering its waters. These include Geraldine Chick, Senior Executive, Projects & Technology and a former Jurong Port – MaritimeONE Scholar, and Chan Yong Da, Project Engineer and former Sembcorp Marine – MaritimeONE Scholar.
Just as SMF has initiated dialogue and forged strong community bonds within the maritime industry over almost two decades, we decided to connect with these scholars and learn how those who have a passion for maritime can contribute to the industry.
How did you get interested in your current fields?
Geraldine (Maritime Studies): Just like myself, not many young people will actually think of entering the maritime industry at the beginning. However, after hearing more about this dynamic industry and understanding how the maritime sector plays a big role in our country’s development, I decided to take the leap of faith to proceed with this course.
Yong Da (Offshore Engineering): My first encounter with ships was during a cruise holiday with my family. I was intrigued by how a cruise ship can hold so many facilities and withstand the waves and tides of the vast ocean. I had the opportunity to further my interest by taking up Marine Engineering in Singapore Polytechnic and eventually furthering my studies, pursuing a degree in Offshore Engineering offered by Newcastle University with SIT, with the support of the MaritimeONE scholarship.
Yong Da, what made you decide on the MaritimeONE Scholarship?
Yong Da (Sembcorp Marine): I first discovered the scholarship on Brightsparks and learnt about the many maritime companies that were sponsoring this programme. Sembcorp Marine stood out to me as I wanted to oversee new vessels being built from scratch. The scholarship provided me with opportunities to build a strong foundation in my area of interest – shipbuilding.
Geraldine, we heard you greatly enjoyed your university experience. But aside from the book-learning, what did you gain?
Geraldine: My exchange programme was a wonderful memory! The entire cohort got the opportunity to study abroad in Norway together where we had the chance to visit neighbouring countries as well along the way. It was a great six-month experience that had a deep impact on me.
Yong Da: I’ll cut in to say I benefitted from the overseas exchange programme offered at Newcastle University in London as well. I got to experience studying in a foreign country and explore the city to understand their culture.
Now, both of you have begun your careers in the maritime sector. Could you tell us about your work?
Geraldine: I am part of the Project and Technology team running waterfront digitalisation projects which focus on our Terminal Operating Systems. We create live visibility of operational activities and enable effective tracking of our ongoing port operations. My main task as the Project Manager is to ensure we reap the appropriate benefits from these improvements.
Yong Da: I am currently working as a project engineer in the newbuild commissioning department at Sembcorp Marine.
I coordinate with production departments, vendors, shipowners and classification societies to complete projects on time. I would say that my main responsibility is to plan and execute the commissioning of the various systems onboard.
Yong Da, what would you say is your greatest career achievement so far?
Yong Da: My most significant achievement so far is being a part of the commissioning team to hand over Sleipnir which is the largest semi-submersible crane vessel in the world. Being a greenhorn at that time, it was a steep learning curve for me. I was tasked to carry out the commissioning of the engine, air and exhaust system. Despite all the challenges faced, I managed to hand over the systems smoothly within the timeframe and given resources. It brought me a great sense of satisfaction and I consider this my most significant career achievement to date.
Geraldine, would you say that similar opportunities await people choosing maritime?
Geraldine: Definitely! There are plenty of opportunities such as port operations, chartering, insurance, and so on. Even myself, I am now doing Project Management and using my maritime and port knowledge to improve existing processes through our digitalisation efforts.
What advice would you give to aspiring scholars looking to join the maritime sector?
Geraldine: Come in with an open mind and you will see that there are many opportunities in this sector for you to make a difference especially now, when the industry is undergoing a digital transformation.
Yong Da: I would advise that they should keep their career options open. The saying goes: ‘Find something that you like and excel in it.’ I think that it does not matter which role you begin with but ensure that it is something that gives you a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day.