Engineering a sustainable future
The Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering(SIE) programme offered by Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is the first of its kind in Singapore. Discover more about how the curriculum and culture is shaping future leaders through the eyes of scholars Abarrane Goh Jia Fen and Ronald Tan Hong Jie.
Being the fifth autonomous university in Singapore, SIT prides itself as a university of applied learning. SIT’s degree programmes are organised into five clusters – Engineering (ENG), Chemical Engineering and Food Technology (CEFT), Infocomm Technology (ICT), Health and Social Sciences (HSS), and Design and Specialised Businesses (DSB). All programmes are focused on applying theories into practice. This prepares graduates to be practice-oriented and industry-ready, so they are able to overcome challenges and solve real world problems. Moreover, SIT offers scholarships for talented students and passionate individuals to attain their goals.
ABARRANE GOH JIA FEN, SIT Scholar, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services), SIT
Engineering is the foundation on which every modern society is built. Today, engineering is a lucrative and exciting field due to innovation and emerging technologies. The SIE curriculum was designed and tailored to be multi-disciplinary – one that combines the fundamentals of various engineering disciplines to solve problems in smart nations. Outside of lecture halls, undergraduates are exposed to industry-relevant training provided by highly qualified professors and industry professionals.
PROGRESSIVE ENGINEERING TO TACKLE MODERN PROBLEMS
Globally, countries are battling modern environmental issues. It is the challenge of working on sustainable projects that motivated Abarrane to pursue the SIE (Building Services) programme. Currently a freshman, she recounts, “Recycling has always been my passion since young. My mum would remind us to recycle things like tin cans and rough paper at home. I’ve always wanted to have a meaningful career while making an impact on the environment.” Developed in collaboration with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Singapore, the curriculum covers both necessary engineering disciplines and modules highly relevant to the building services industry in Singapore.
For Ronald, the intricacy and interconnectedness of land transport bridging the distance between people was what nurtured his interest. In his third year, Ronald was especially attracted to the SIE (Land) programme as it is a pioneering degree in Singapore. He quips, “It captured my interest with its relevance to the railway industry and the opportunity to tackle the challenges faced, through the constant rail upgrades and rail line expansions. I am grateful to be selected for the Public Transport Scholarship, which allows me to contribute back to Singapore’s public transport system.”
RONALD TAN HONG JIE, Public Transport Industry Scholar, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours), Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land), SIT
Besides vigorous academic training, one signature feature of the programme is the 12-month Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) in which students are involved in day-to-day operations and confront challenges just like an employee of the host organisation such as the Land Transport Authority (LTA), SBS Transit, Keppel Group and Singapore Technologies.
Ronald is currently doing his IWSP with SBS Transit DTL Pte Ltd (Downtown Line - Systems Department). “It is a fulfilling experience to be learning knowledge and skills from the DTL engineers. IWSP provides an avenue for me to gain some industry experience with solid guidance from the DTL engineers and the opportunity for independent learning through the projects,” he elaborates.
DEVELOPING LEADERS OF TOMORROW
While academics are important, SIT has a firm belief in grooming holistic graduates. The university offers a Value-Added Programme (VAP) to broaden students’ learning. The VAP encompasses short courses and workshops in four categories: Career Headstart, Languages and Cultures, Hobbies and Leisure, and Knowledge Upgrade. Some of these courses allow students to either pick up a new language, hone their public speaking skills or advance their conflict resolution skills. VAP allows students to learn with schoolmates from various degree programmes during semester or trimester breaks, which further enriches their campus life and diversifies their interaction and understanding of different walks of life.
Besides VAP, SIT offers opportunities for overseas trips to enhance students’ development. Ronald was part of the Enterprise Immersion Programme (EIP) to Netherlands last year. “I benefited greatly from the exposure to the Dutch learning and working culture in the business sector,” he chimes. He exudes excitement and confidence that these invaluable experiences will benefit Singapore when he incorporates them into his role after graduation.
Innovation is essential as engineers consider ways to promote sustainability in the built environment and designing environment-friendly buildings. This is where Abarrane hopes to contribute in after graduation. She aspires to be a green consultant, helping builders in Singapore achieve the BCA Green Mark. As for Ronald, innovation is needed to help reinvent the transportation system so it evolves with the dynamic needs of Singaporeans. His career goal is to work towards becoming a chartered engineer and playing a greater part in shaping Singapore’s public transportation system. “As a daily user of public transport, I understand the experience may be frustrating at times. I aspire to contribute towards enhancing the commuting experience for my fellow Singaporeans.”
Being one of the pioneer cohorts of the SIE programme, both Abarrane and Ronald embrace having an open mind as a vital quality for success at SIT. As engineers, they acknowledge that technology is always changing; hence, one must be willing to learn, unlearn and relearn. It is only by doing so that engineers can stay relevant and contribute through their work.
This article was adapted from the BrightSparks 2018 Higher Education publication with the permission of CareerBuilder Singapore.