Life Lessons from IWSP at Aurecon

Josiah Yang, a final-year Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services) undergraduate, shares his takeaways from his year-long Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) stint as an Assistant Mechanical Engineer at Aurecon.

As part of my Year 3 undergraduate studies, I spent my Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) at Aurecon. The 12-month experience was nothing short of fulfilling. I have gained so much over the course of a year – from getting a chance to see to a project's success to being part of team bonding activities.

As I reflect on the time I spent at Aurecon, there are three main takeaways that I would like to share:

1. Teamwork is essential for a project be successful

I was assigned to the Mechanical Consultancy team in charge of designing air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV), plumbing, sanitary, and fire protection systems for various construction projects such as office 'fit-outs', data centres, as well as design and builds.

Contrary to popular belief, engineering is not a profession where one gets isolated at his/her work desk computing complicated calculations all day. I've learnt that a successful project hinges on how well a team works together. There is no doubt that there will be challenges and unexpected issues, but the key is in tackling those matters together as a team. Constant communication is also required with engineers of other disciplines, architects, interior designers and contractors to ensure the success of any project.

I recall working on a job that had a tight deadline. The group assessed how we could tap into each of our strengths and split the work accordingly. Each of us had a role to play, and we were clear on what was expected to meet the deadline and deliver the project well.

Success is achievable when everyone works better and smarter together.

2. Healthy and happy employees work better

I also had the chance to observe how important a healthy work culture is. People work better when they feel better. The well-being of employees is something that Aurecon takes great pride in. It felt like I was part of one big family, where every single employee was valued.

My colleagues and bosses would always take the time to check in on me to see how I was doing. Those regular sessions took place before COVID-19. When the pandemic happened, our regular discussions started to encompass our mental well-being as well. There was always great consideration for how employees were feeling and coping both inside and outside of work.

There were also activities and initiatives that I could partake in, such as Movember in November 2019 to help raise awareness about men's health issues. I was also included in the company's annual dinner last year, which was fully organised by my colleagues instead of an events company. I was amazed by the effort put in by the employee-led committee. The event was fun and enjoyable, and I felt that my colleagues genuinely cared for one another.

3. Being willing to learn is everything

Coming in as an intern with very limited experience, I understood that humility is a virtue I needed to observe. The conversations I had with my colleagues would remind me of how little I knew, and how much more I could learn.

I was also very fortunate to have had a mentor in Mr Kelvin Chen, Mechanical Practice Leader, Aurecon, who was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with me. He had not only shared technical knowledge, but also project management and client management matters.

As I embark on my final year of studies at SIT, I will apply what I had learnt at Aurecon back into the classroom. I will also treasure the meaningful memories made while I was at Aurecon, whether they were of meetings or celebratory team lunches. I am glad to have made friends there, and look forward to crossing paths with the Aurecon family again!



A distinctive feature of SIT's degree programmes, Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) provides students with the opportunity to undertake real work, allowing them to integrate theory and practice and develop deep specialist skills in their chosen field. Read more about it here.


Image credits: Josiah Yang