Saw Hui Min is a recent graduate from the Nanyang Technological University. She studied Mechanical Engineering and graduated with a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering in 2012. She joined Senoko Energy in the same year as a Turbine Engineer and has been with Senoko for 8 months.
What made you decide to join the power sector?
Frankly, I did not plan on joining the power sector. I have been very interested in machines and how they work, which was why I studied Mechanical Engineering in NTU. I came across a recruitment advertisement by Senoko Energy and decided to apply for the position. I was surprised when I got called for an interview, and even more so when Senoko offered me a job!
Although I felt that my final year studies (Manufacturing and Systems Engineering) were not exactly relevant to a Turbine Engineer job, I decide to give it a shot since Senoko offered me the opportunity.
Was the sector what you imagined it to be or were there any surprises?
I was open to what the job might entail so I did not have any specific expectations. However, I was still surprised when I discovered that my final year studies did have some relevance to my work, afterall! So my concern that the job was "not relevant" to what I studied was immaterial.
Describe a typical day at work? What are some highlights of your career thus far?
As a Turbine Engineer, I am assigned a particular suite of equipment to take care of. I must ensure that the equipment under my charge is always available and reliable. To do so, I must monitor the condition of the equipment closely, and be up to date with routine maintenance. If the machine unfortunately breaks down, I will have to do troubleshooting and make sure that they are repaired! I am also in charge of purchasing parts for planned replacement. When there are major statutory inspections, I will assist my Principal Engineers in planning and preparing for the inspections, and ensuring that the documentation is complete.
What would you say to young graduates, especially fellow female graduates, who are considering a career in the power sector?
I think it is important not to be fixated on whether a job is "relevant" to your studies. It is more important to be open to what the job can teach you. I thought that my studies were not relevant, but as it turned out, it did not matter much as my job as a Turbine Engineer requires specialised training on the job! As fresh graduates, our learning in school is purely academic. It is learning on the job that puts the meat around our academic learning.
All of us engineers are learning from our colleagues, supervisors and even contractors every day. It is important to have a humble and learning attitude in any job we are in.
I would say that I am honoured to be given a chance in the power sector. As you can see, Senoko's recruitment policy is gender-blind. I have never felt disadvantaged in the company. In fact, my boss expects me to work as hard as my male colleagues!
To the engineering graduates, especially the females, I suggest you give the power sector a closer look. Find out as much as you can about this sector. But I tell you — nothing beats being in it yourself. A career in the power sector is a fulfilling one!