Article was first published at Straits Time Scholar’s Choice III.
Inspired by a mentor during his industrial attachment, BCA scholar Tan Wee Kwang is determined to make an impact in the construction industry.
by leong phei phei
BUILDING and Construction Authority (BCA) scholarship holder Tan Wee Kwang (right) is one of the lucky few who met a person who inspired him to forge a career in the construction field during his industrial attachment.
That man is his current deputy director at BCA, Engineer (Er) Lee Chee Keong.
Recalling the days when he interned at BCA’s Transit Shelter Engineering Department (TSED), Mr Tan says his mentor impressed him with his leadership and professionalism.
His life has come full circle in the sense that he is now officially working under Er Lee in TSED.
Mr Tan says: “Knowing that my aspiration is toobtain the Professional Engineering licence, Er Lee has not only created numerous opportunities for me to be exposed to the various facets of the project cycle, but he has also personally guided me in building up my technical knowledge.
“Till today, he continues to be one of my role models in the industry, and I hope that one day I will be able to emulate his success.”
In addition to being guided by an inspiring mentor, Mr Tan has been given wideranging roles in the organisation, giving him a good sense of the work that BCA does
The Hwa Chong alumnus graduated in 2006 with a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS).
He has taken on diverse portfolios ranging from monitoring the economic and financial well-being of the building and construction industry to advancing the industry capability and promoting the export of construction-related services.
These diverse responsibilities gave him plenty of opportunities to interact with the local industry stakeholders, feel the pulse of the industry and better understand the ground conditions.
In addition,work has taken him to different countries, including China, India, Spain and Algeria,where he got to understand the built environment in different countries.
He says: “Looking back, I must stay that I find my work extremely rewarding because I was able to contribute to the betterment of the industry and the built environment in many different ways.
“In particular, the sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from seeing tangible improvements being made to the built environment and knowing that I contributed to it is a priceless experience, which not only makes the hard work worthwhile, but also inspires me to put in my best effort in my work so that I can continue to make positive contributions to the society.”
Indeed, Mr Tan has come a long way since his childhood days.
He recalls harbouring the dream of playing a role in the physical development of Singapore when he saw HDB contractors clearing the forested area next to his house to construct new housing estates.
Driven by his desire to know how things work and his passion for mathematics, he decided to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering.
He chose NUS for a few reasons, including its broad-based curriculum, quality of research and the relatively big group of international students.
“In a nutshell, I felt that as far as mechanical engineering is concerned, the education that I have received in NUS is probably comparable to other well-established overseas universities, in terms of the knowledge gained and the experience of varsity life,” he says.
Motivated by his childhood dream and interest in the construction industry, he took up a scholarship with BCA.
He says he is fortunate to take on his current portfolio, as senior executive engineer in TSED, because it is a close fit to his course of study in NUS.
Speaking from his own experience, he advises A-level students to go for a scholarship offered by an organisation whose vision and mission are aligned with their interests and goals.
“It is always useful to have an idea of your real passion and aspirations so that you can make an informed decision. Scholarships should never be vie wed solely as a means of financing the university education,” he says.