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Cleared for career take-off

DRAWN to the dynamic and globalised nature of aviation, Mr Sim Jun An applied for a scholarship by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in 2012.

Today, the 26-year-old recipient of the CAAS Undergraduate Scholarship is an engineer in the surveillance projects section of CAAS’ aeronautical engineering and telecommunication division.

Mr Sim’s choice of scholarship and employer stemmed from his desire to serve in the public sector, as well as his interest in emerging technologies.

“The aviation industry is packed with excitement, given the trans-boundary nature and rapid advancement in aviation technologies,” he says.

Earlier this year, he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering Science (Aerospace Engineering) and a Master of Science in Technology Management from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

He will be bonded for four-and-a-half-years, until June 2021.

A value-added scholarship

The CAAS Undergraduate Scholarship covers a recipient’s tuition fees, hostel fees and other compulsory fees. On top of that, it provides a monthly allowance and sponsorships for any overseas exchange and return airfares for overseas scholars.

Mr Sim says the rigorous selection process involves potential candidates being given case studies to discuss, and presenting their fi ndings to a group of assessors. It also includes panel interviews as well as personality and written tests.

Following his university admission, Mr Sim opted for NTU’s Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP), which has a unique curriculum designed to nurture engineering leaders with an entrepreneurial spirit to serve society.

He explains: “REP provides an inter-disciplinary engineering education, which integrates engineering, science, business, humanities and technology management.”

The programme included a one-year overseas exchange in a renowned partner university during his third year in universi-
ty. He did his exchange at Imperial College London.

As a CAAS scholar, Mr Sim had the opportunity to intern with the company during his school breaks at the airworthiness and fight operations (A/FO) division, and safety policy and licensing (SPL) division.

“During my internship at A/FO division, I worked in a team to develop a new framework to improve the effi ciency of safety oversight.

“Aside from the project that I was assigned, I shadowed inspectors when they carried out inspections on aircraft and audits on cabin crew training,” he says.

Both internships gave him a better understanding and insight into the aviation industry and the regulations developed by CAAS in ensuring safe air travel, he adds.

Working toward s success

Just six months into the job, Mr Sim is already enjoying his work immensely.

He says: “My work involves managing projects that enhance the software and hardware of existing communications, navigation aid and surveillance systems.

“Besides project management, I have to conduct research and evaluate emerging technologies that can enhance CAAS’ air navigation services.”

In addition, he is responsible for engaging neighbouring countries in exploring opportunities for collaboration to provide robust and effi cient air navigation services in the region.

CAAS places a strong emphasis on career development and there are opportunities for rotations to other divisions, as well as stints at the ministry level and at its statutory boards, says Mr Sim.

He hopes to learn more different aspects of aviation that will allow him to formulate high-level policies in future.

This will enable him to develop astute policies to help Singapore remain a leader in the civil aviation industry.

His work fulfi ls him as it has a positive impact on Singapore’s economy.

“I feel proud that my work contributes to keeping CAAS at the forefront of air navigation services and improving the capability to ensure safe and effi cient air  traffic management. I am excited about what’s to come in the future,” he says.