Championing lifelong learning
Nothing stops Associate Professor Yee Fook Cheong in his advocacy for lifelong learning. His move to SIT after being in the manufacturing industry for more than three decades reflects his never-ending quest to always learn and improve.
It thus comes as no surprise that this champion of lifelong learning was awarded the prestigious SkillsFuture Fellowship.
A/Prof Yee Fook Cheong was one of 29 individuals to receive this accolade awarded by SkillsFuture Singapore to recognise masters of their domains and shapers of Singapore’s future.
A/Prof Yee receiving the award from President Halimah Yacob and Minister Ong Ye Kung at the awards ceremony on 31 July 2018.
The drive to learn never ceases
A faculty member of SIT’s Engineering Cluster, A/Prof Yee has spent over 30 years in the industry before joining SIT in 2013 to inspire aspiring engineers. Upon graduation with an engineering degree, he started as a production engineer in an aerospace manufacturing company. He tapped on the experience of his team of skilled machinists, who became his mentors, and deepened his knowledge through courses in precision manufacturing, amongst others. To complement his hands-on skills with sound engineering principles, he pursued his Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering.
The skills he acquired allowed him to grow in his career, from managing a machining workshop to establishing the Precision Engineering and Application Centre and then leading the technology development unit in a defence company. Now after accumulating a wealth of industry knowledge, he passionately imparts his skills and knowledge to the next generation of engineers at SIT.
A/Prof Yee with his 2017 FYP students from Newcastle University.
A/Prof Yee’s lifelong learning journey continues. He is now busy equipping himself with the necessary Industry 4.0 skills to accelerate the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies both in academia and the industry. His efforts will serve to bring better solutions to partners in the manufacturing industry. In addition, it will upskill and reskill practising engineers, adding to their development and growth.
“I’m honoured to receive this award, yet humbled to know that I’m just standing on the shoulders of giants who have come before me,” A/Prof Yee remarked. “We learn something new every day. Being lifelong learners is part of what makes us human. Our innate curiosity will continue to lead us to explore the world around us and seek to understand it in ways that are new to us.”
Contribution to the community
A/Prof Yee strongly believes that an engineer’s role in society should extend beyond his professional sphere. Hence, he equipped himself with the necessary coaching and facilitation skills in order to reach out to the community. He was a member of the team that implemented Helping Others Succeed® in ST Kinetics, training the line managers and coaching his staff. He is an executive coach with the SAF, coaching commanders on the finer points of leadership and command. At SIT, A/Prof Yee coaches his students on career and life skills.
After attaining accreditation as a certified facilitator, A/Prof Yee began serving in the community. He organised and facilitated courses such as The Alpha Course, The Marriage Course and Parenting Teenagers Course. Together with his wife, A/Prof Yee developed a programme for parents of married children on Spiritual Parenting of Young Couples (SPYCes®) which will be run in three churches in 2018.
So how does he keep up this burning passion for teaching, training and educating?
“I believe that teaching others would reinforce my own learning. I’m now in a phase when it is timely to share my experiences with the next generation of engineers. I’m reaping what my seniors have sown and it is only right that I now sow into the next generation,” mused A/Prof Yee.
Role model to SITizens
A/Prof Yee continues to savour his teaching days at SIT. “Some of my memorable moments would be to see my students successfully completing the oral defence of their Final Year Projects, sharing their moment of achievement at their commencement ceremony, and hearing the excitement in their voices when they call to tell me that they’ve secured their first job.”
A/Prof Yee with his 2018 FYP students from Newcastle University.
His advice to SITizens is that lifelong learning is a given. “Technology charges ahead. So if an engineer uses the same tools to solve technical challenges today as he did a year ago, he would have already fallen behind in terms of technology adoption and exploitation. Hence, he would need to learn continually and more importantly, be able to unlearn and re-learn,” said A/Prof Yee.
SIT congratulates A/Prof Yee on being awarded the SkillsFuture Fellowship and being a role model to many!