Younger attendees at SIEW were given an insight into Singapore’s energy sector and the career opportunities it offered. By Caleb Xu
At a sharing session with youths attending Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), Kwong Kok Chang, Deputy General Manager of PacificLight Power walked down memory lane to give an overview of how Singapore’s energy sector has changed over the years.
Mr Kwong could still recall when electricity was not accessible to everyone, and kerosene lamps were used for lighting in households. When electrification started, each township only had street lamps that could be used for limited periods every night.
Over the years, Singapore has transitioned from coal to gas-fired power plants, and while renewables will increasingly be used, conventional power generation methods will remain. “To power Singapore fully with solar power by covering the whole island with solar panels, 10 Singapores will be needed,” said Mr Kwong.
He ended his talk by encouraging the audience to look at the Skills Framework for Energy and Power for career pathways and training programmes in the energy sector.
Equipping youths with the right skills
The event’s guest of honour, Dr Tan Wu Meng, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced three initiatives to help prepare Singapore’s energy talents for the future. These are the Energy Ambassadors Programme; the Energy-Industry Scholarship; and two educational videos jointly developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Energy Market Authority (EMA).
1. Energy Ambassadors Programme
Ten pioneering student ambassadors have been appointed under the inaugural Energy Ambassadors Programme. While they come from a range of different backgrounds – from secondary schools to Institutions of Higher Learning – what they share is a passion for the energy sector. The ambassadors will get the opportunity to participate in experiential learning journeys such as the Powering Lives Trails, which will allow them to view energy-related facilities that are normally closed to public. They are then expected to become docents and facilitators for future trails.
2. Energy-Industry Scholarship for 2018
Dr Tan congratulated the four recipients of the Energy-industry Scholarship for 2018. One of the recipients, Lim Kian Rong, is currently pursuing his diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Singapore Polytechnic. Kian Rong was inspired by his father, an electrician and the family’s sole breadwinner, to take up electrical engineering.
With this goal in mind, he worked hard and caught the attention of interviewers from Senoko with his passion and perseverance. Said Kian Rong: “When I was younger, I noticed that my dad worked very hard and was always coming home late. So, I asked him what he was doing in his job. He told me that he was powering people’s homes and making sure their houses were as bright, warm and cosy as ours. With that, he was my hero and I wanted to be like him. I would often help him and watch him fix electrical stuff. So, my interest in electrical engineering started from there.”
3. The launch of two new MOE-EMA education videos
To bring to life energy concepts taught in class, Dr Tan announced that the Government has also launched the second series of education resource videos jointly created by MOE and EMA. The two videos are titled “Cooling Singapore” and “Radiation Safety”. These videos are available on MOE’s Student Learning Space and on EMA’s Powering Lives Portal. MOE and EMA will continue exploring ways to develop more resources for students, on topics ranging from economics to career guidance.
Committed to developing young talent
The Government is also partnering the industry to create more opportunities for students. One such example is the annual Sembcorp-EMA Energy Challenge, which is part of EMA’s renewed four-year partnership with Sembcorp on manpower and technology. Since its launch in 2014, the Energy Challenge has helped more than 300 students gain a deeper understanding of the energy sector. About 120 more students took part in this year’s challenge, which aims to expose participants to the different considerations behind energy-related policy decisions.