A glimpse of the inspiring people and stories of the maritime industry.

Starting anew? A mentor can expedite your learning!

Amid the uncertain times caused by the pandemic, the maritime industry continues to provide stability and progression for its people, while also being a worthwhile career option for new graduates and those looking to start a new career trajectory.

As a recent Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies graduate, 26-year-old Ryann Sim was motivated to play a part in Singapore’s development as a top maritime hub. He joined X-Press Feeders as a Line Management Executive after graduation, ensuring that the feeder services he oversees meet the goals of the company. This requires him to facilitate effective communication across departments and negotiating with external stakeholders to understand the market situation and the various products that are available in the market.

Ryann, who is also from the X-Press Feeders – MaritimeONE Scholarship Programme, reflects on his working experiences in the past year

“Ultimately, having a good grasp of the factors which may affect a feeder service, eagerness to work around challenges while keeping the company goals in mind are things that a Line Management Executive has to bring to the table.”

Challenges Ahead

A Line Management Executive’s job scope is extensive. There are numerous factors at play and multiple unexpected scenarios to tackle. The role demands detailed coordination – from calculating the sectorial slot cost of a service to understanding the market.

As a fresh graduate with little knowledge in line management, Ryann experienced a steep learning curve. However, this did not faze him. “Despite its demanding nature, I was fresh-faced and excited with taking on every task thrown at me,” he adds.

As a young Line Management Executive, Ryann quickly realised managing a feeder service meant more than just ensuring that a vessel reaches its destination

Although challenges were aplenty, Ryann felt at ease approaching his seniors at work for advice and expertise. “They helped me with my queries and shared their experiences, which enabled me to think beyond the surface and rationalise my decisions.”

A Mentor, A Guiding Light

Ryann lives by the maxim, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This was especially so when his senior and Line Manager, Sheryl Lee, supported him by teaching him the ropes.

“Sheryl has been very supportive of me [and my growth] by providing thinking questions, occasionally guiding me towards the solutions,” he reflects. “Her coaching style has helped me tremendously as I am able to conduct effective discussions across departments to find the most suitable solution for the problems I have encountered.”

Ryann with his mentor, Sheryl Lee, who is also a Line Manager at X-Press Feeders

The role of a mentor is even more crucial in a sector as dynamic as the maritime industry. Thus, the tutelage of an experienced mentor has enabled Ryann to gain a better understanding of both his role and the industry.

The Necessity of A Mentor

Sheryl has been a Line Manager for over four years, and holds invaluable expertise and knowledge, which she is enthusiastic to share. Her ‘can-do’ persona and vast experiences make her an asset, as she is able to share constructive feedback and insights. Ryann highlights that in stressful situations, “Sheryl always addresses the situation calmly and conducts business professionally.”

A new entrant’s growth can be tremendously impacted by an able mentor. In Ryann’s case, Sheryl is the epitome of a patient instructor. Even with a busy work schedule, she patiently answered his questions. When there are new questions or situations, she has been more than willing to address key details that are important in fixing problems.

Ryann proudly states, “My mentor acts as an advisor and role model in the company. Having a mentor who goes through the basics of the specific industry that I have joined is crucial as it drills down to the bedrock of my role in the industry.”

Despite having little knowledge in Line Management, Ryann’s colleagues and seniors have provided him with much guidance along the way

Considering there are infinite possible scenarios that may happen on a feeder service and also in the maritime industry, a mentor’s presence to discuss and share experiences with, is invaluable.

What Maritime Offers Newcomers

Ryann’s journey as a maritime professional has been nascent and fulfilling. His one-year tenure in managing a feeder service has exposed him to diverse scenarios. In addition, the guidance of an experienced mentor has helped his professional growth.

While schools have taught certain concepts, the application of these concepts in a real-world context is far more challenging.

“A nurturing mentor who takes the effort and finds time to illustrate how the maritime industry works, helps a fresh graduate build a strong foundation.”

As a maritime professional, Ryann would like to further his knowledge and garner experience in various functions within the maritime industry. The independent accomplishments of different sectors within the industry collectively contribute towards fulfilling the obligations of a single maritime contract is intriguing and keeps work exciting.

“Given the opportunity, I would also like to be a part of the team who brainstorms new ways to enhance processes and procedures, allowing for more efficient and effective bridging of different functional departments and eventually bringing about ambitious improvements within maritime. With this experience, I hope to also become as good of a mentor to my future juniors, like how Sheryl was for me!”

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About The MSC Office

The Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office is a national initiative, supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, to profile the maritime industry and connect students and jobseekers with the multiple pathways into the industry.

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