Passion and Pride – Rising Stars in Maritime (Part 2)
The sun rises and it is another day out at sea for Yin Jinghong. Onboard BP’s Century Class Tanker, the 19-year-old embarks on her maiden voyage, one that marks the start of her journey towards a role as a marine engineer onboard ships. Measuring 274 metres long (approximately 2.3 football fields), the ship is BP’s largest tanker under its shipping fleet rejuvenation project, and the perfect vessel for the adventure of a lifetime.
Four months into her travels, Jinghong shares more with us about her aspirations and how it led her to become a MaritimeONE scholar with the Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU). Her story began with a family holiday onboard a cruise ship ten years ago. Even as a nine-year-old, she was intrigued by the machinery onboard the vessel, and was fascinated by how everything came together seamlessly. Later in secondary school, the opportunity to speak to maritime ambassadors at a career talk helped her to understand how she could pursue her dream job.
Today, she sails with BP as an engine cadet, and will graduate this year with a Diploma in Marine Engineering from Singapore Maritime Academy – Singapore Polytechnic.
Gateway to the Maritime Industry
Jinghong’s SMOU – MaritimeONE Scholarship is part of an extensive list of opportunities available to students looking to pursue diploma or degree courses in Maritime Studies, Engineering, Computer Science and Economics.
Sponsored by maritime companies and administered by the Singapore Maritime Foundation, the MaritimeONE Scholarship supports various local and overseas diploma and degree programmes. Since 2007, over 300 scholarships have been given out, valued over S$8.2 million, have been awarded to outstanding students for their pursuit of courses in Singapore and overseas.
Not only does the MaritimeONE scholarship provide financial support, it also serves as a springboard for these young talents. Scholars gain invaluable hands-on internship experience with their sponsoring organisations as well as exclusive access to industry conferences, networking events and learning journeys.
Gee Song Xi, a Pacific International Lines (PIL) – MaritimeONE scholar, relates how he and fellow scholars were often invited to attend seminars and ceremonies as participants and helpers. “This way, we will have more opportunities to mingle with industry leaders and veterans, and hence develop a broader and deeper understanding of the industry. Although the MaritimeONE scholars come from different universities and disciplines, we are a very close-knit community. When we gather, we often exchange ideas and market updates, and this helps me to stay abreast of the latest developments in the maritime industry,” he added.
As a Maritime Studies graduate from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), his interest in the maritime industry was first piqued at a university enrolment drive in 2010. “I visited the MaritimeONE booth where the ambassadors were very forthcoming in telling me about their experiences in the industry and how vibrant it could be. I was struck by the sheer scale of the industry and I knew then that I wanted to be a part of this bustling sector,” he recalled.
For Mavis Chia, a Fednav – MaritimeONE scholar, she appreciates the exclusive opportunities provided, which has given her an edge over her peers. “The MaritimeONE scholarship offers not only a scholarship, but opportunities to interact with my peers from other schools, meet industry veterans and have access to exclusive industry events. SMF also offers to assist scholars with job placements after the scholarship period, especially with their partner companies,” shares the Singapore Management University (SMU) graduate. Having completed her Bachelor of Science in Economics (Maritime Economics Concentration), Mavis is currently a Commercial Management Associate at BW Group, a leading global maritime group involved in shipping, floating gas infrastructure and deepwater oil and gas production.
For Jinghong, the MaritimeONE Scholarship has helped to fulfil her passion for sailing while opening up doors to invaluable resources. “It has given me a chance to visit different maritime companies and attend dialogue sessions with the authorities. The very first thing that attracted me to the MaritimeONE Scholarship is that the bond is not to a certain company but to the industry,” she explained, adding that the short three-year scholarship bond made the programme a perfect fit for her.
Charting Their Course
It is clear that this highly-driven lady is excited to embark on her journey ahead, as she shares her ambitions to become a Second Engineer on board with students interested in applying for the MaritimeONE scholarships, she has this to say, “Academic results are not an end-all. Be confident and most importantly, let your passion shine through.”
For Mavis, her two-year Management Associate programme at BW Group offers her the opportunity to work with various departments and business units., “As Singapore is our main office, I get to sit in with group functions like the legal, insurance and finance departments, while also gaining exposure to different asset classes like product tankers and gas carriers. I learn on the job, assisting departments with the daily work and applying my knowledge from other departments to improve processes,” she explains
Mavis’ passion for what she does is driven by the global perspective that the industry offers. She explains, “Vessels are mobile assets; they travel all around the world and that very fact makes this industry so international. It trains you to be skilled and adaptable in ever-changing situations, and how to work with colleagues from different cultures. It’s an advantageous skill to have no matter which industry you are in.”
Both Mavis and Jinghong join the ranks of women who are debunking the myth that shipping is just for men. Mavis is convinced that the tide has turned and strongly encourages her peers to give this industry that she loves a chance.
“It is a whole new world here, every type of vessel requires an expertise, and every commodity is a specialty. The things that you can learn are endless. There are many ladies holding key roles in their companies and such stories are inspirational. Eventually, I hope that I can say I had a small part to play in changing someone else’s perception.”
Song Xi believes an industry that is open to change is one that will see a plethora of opportunities. “The industry must continue to bring in streams of young talent with diversified skill sets to challenge old mindsets and embrace new challenges to ensure that Singapore remains a premier global hub for maritime services,” he said.
Now a Senior Trade Executive at PIL, Song Xi has been pursuing an exciting career with his sponsoring company since he graduated four years ago. In 2016, his job of managing the commercial aspects of the company's Liner Services gave him the opportunity to be posted to the regional office in Ghana, West Africa for one year.
“That experience allowed me to realise just how globalised the shipping business is. It was a challenge to adapt to a different working environment, but you start to appreciate the favourable working conditions in Singapore and see things with a more open mind. The rotation between different departments also made me more 'mobile' and flexible in working with people of various backgrounds,” said Song Xi. He hopes to emerge as a leader in his field one day, and acknowledges that the MaritimeONE Scholarship has given him and his fellow scholars a good head-start in their careers.
If you are keen to take up new challenges, explore new horizons and be part of a vibrant and dynamic industry, visit www.maritimesgconnect.com for more information.