Bedrock skills

It was not by mere chance that two SIT alumni found immediate employment upon graduation. We speak with the two to find out more about their career jumpstart at water solutions conglomerate, Hyflux.

It was not by mere chance that two SIT alumni found immediate employment upon graduation. We speak with the two to find out more about their career jumpstart at water solutions conglomerate, Hyflux.

Chieng Jialun and Joanna Quek share with us their work experience at Hyflux. Image courtesy of Hyflux

It all boiled down to the foundation of applied learning he had received at his alma mater, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), which prepared him well for his job at Hyflux, said Chieng Jialun who is currently working as an engineer at the water treatment multinational.

Chieng, who graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Chemical Engineering from Newcastle University in 2013, attributed his success at work to SIT’s industry-relevant curriculum. “The Engineering Design programme I undertook in university greatly benefited me in my current role,” he said.

“SIT also encouraged group projects, through which I have learned to improve on my interpersonal skills and made me a better team player,” he added.

It is this bedrock of applied skills developed at SIT which allows Chieng to “constantly explore new angles to find solutions at work”, according to Chieng’s supervisor, Kok Jun Feng, Principal Engineer, Process/Water Technology.

Kok explained: “His undergraduate studies not only have given him the platform to appreciate the knowledge behind the water treatment process design, but also the opportunities to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds and abilities, as shown in Chieng’s smoother transition from academic environment to working place, compared with graduates from other universities.”

From SIT to MNC

But it is not just about having a strong foundation in applied learning, which has helped Chieng in his career path.

His ease of transition from university to the work place was also the result of a high level of employer engagement fostered at SIT. Chieng recalled how he began his career at Hyflux. “At an SIT career fair in 2013, Hyflux was one of the participating companies that reached out to fresh graduates,” he revealed. “I was honoured to be offered an interview with Hyflux during the career fair and gained employment after the interview.

Indeed, career fairs are becoming increasingly important for tertiary institutions and industry — not only do they serve as networking events for students but also provide opportunities for employers to find bright new talents.

Joanna Quek, who is currently working as Engineer, Process/Global Technical Support at Hyflux, said she sees herself leading a team in technical support as well as conducting technical training five years down the road. Image courtesy of Hyflux.

It was also at a career fair where Joanna Quek Xinhui got acquainted with Hyflux. Currently working at Hyflux as Engineer, Process/Global Technical Support, she shared about her experience during that life-changing career event: “I had discussions with Hyflux staff where they shared about possible job opportunities, the required skills and aptitude to join Hyflux.”

While companies might be paying more attention to career fairs, others are working directly with universities to ‘source’ their new talents. In the case of Hyflux, over the past few years, the multinational has recruited a number of fresh graduates from SIT. The company is also partnering SIT on another front – Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) — the university’s distinctive project-based pedagogy, a core component of the curriculum which allows SIT undergraduates to alternate work and study during their time in SIT.

Jeremy Tan, Senior Vice President, Corporate Human Resource, Hyflux, rationalised the move: “The graduates who have joined us possess very good attitudes and have adapted almost immediately to our organisational culture to deliver good work performance.”

Hyflux is already planning more student-employer engagement initiatives going forward, Tan let on. “We are extending Internship Programmes that will allow students to experience the workplace and at the same time, enable Hyflux management to identify those with good performance and invite them to join Hyflux upon their graduation,” he said.