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Cultivating a passion for recycling, one piece of plastic waste at time

Photo Caption: Upon completing her polytechnic studies, Ms Carina Puah will join the TES-AMM team to help with e-waste recycling and waste management. 

By Chew Huiling

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes — and it certainly rings true for one former ITE College West student Ms Carina Puah.

Growing up, the 19-year-old has always had a keen interest in environmental and climate issues.
In her free time, she would frequently assist with recycling efforts by collecting and repurposing used plastic bottles. 

During her days as a student at ITE, she was also involved with the Green Ambassadors Club, where she would teach others how to make DIY projects out of recycled materials as part of the climate-conscious group’s efforts to save the environment.

Motivated by her passion and convictions, it was no surprise that she was keen to pursue a career in the environmental services industry. 

“This line of work aligned with my interests in raising awareness on recycling. I wanted to pursue a career where both my passions and career aspirations can be applied concurrently,” she says.

 

WORKING TOWARDS A BRIGHTER (AND GREENER) FUTURE     

Ms Puah was a bright student and did well at school. With the support of her ITE teachers, she decided to apply for the NEA-Industry Scholarship, which gave her the opportunity to pursue her studies while giving her a head start on her future career goals. 

She chose to take up Chemical Technology at ITE as she was drawn to the microbiology and chromatography modules. Her determination to excel academically earned her a coveted spot on the Director’s List for those who performed well, giving her a greater boost of confidence to reach for bigger milestones.

Unlike other scholarship holders who typically enter the workforce immediately after completing their studies, Ms Puah took the unconventional path of deferring her bond to embark on further studies and obtain higher education first.

After graduating with Higher Nitec in Chemical Technology in May 2021, she enrolled at Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) to pursue a Diploma in Applied Chemistry. 

The course will equip her with industry-relevant knowledge and technical skills to prepare her for a dynamic career in the lab.

 

PROMOTING A WASTE-FREE LIFESTYLE     

Through the NEA-Industry Scholarship programme, a collaboration between the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Environmental Services Industry, Ms Puah also got a job with leading e-waste recycling firm TES-AMM Singapore Pte Ltd as a lab analyst and production assistant, where she will be serving her bond after completing her studies at NYP in 2024. This was one of the reasons why she was motivated to apply for the scholarship in the first place,  she says. 

“In my final year, I began to think about my career prospects, knowing that it would be challenging to find a job after graduation,” she explains. 

“Thankfully, the scholarship programme provided me with  an invaluable head start and
allowed me to secure employment upon my graduation from NYP.”

The NEA-Industry Scholarship provides a stepping stone for young Singaporeans to advance the country’s clean and green mission. Talents will leverage opportunities to forge meaningful careers in environmental services companies while being groomed to become future leaders in the industry. 

With her new role, Ms Puah hopes to create more awareness about waste recycling in our garden city. 

“At the end of the day, I wish to see more people caring for the environment and learning how to generate less waste,” she says.

 

Visit nea.gov.sg/esitm-nis for more information.

 

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