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Laying groundwork for the future

No two days are ever the same for Mr Nathaniel Lee, a project engineer with the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) System Integration and Commissioning Division.

The 27-year-old has set his sights on an engineering career since he was a student; his dream was made possible by the LTA Undergraduate Scholarship he clinched.

After getting his Diploma in Aerospace Engineering in 2012, he wanted to further his studies, and applied for the scholarship to study mechanical engineering at the Nanyang Technological University. The statutory board is the obvious choice to him.

“LTA is an engineering-centred organisation and I relished the opportunity to be involved in a large scale and complex system like Singapore’s rail system,” says Mr Lee.

“Transportation is indispensable in daily life to many. Being in LTA would allow me to create positive changes to the transport infrastructure and see the fruition of our hard work by improving lives through infrastructure,” he adds.

After his undergraduate studies, he pursued a Master of Science in Systems Engineering Management from University College London and graduated in 2018.

He joined LTA in October 2018 and currently works on the testing and commissioning of rail systems for the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).

Each day is always different, he says, adding that he could be meeting contractors in the morning, or doing testing and commissioning work on the TEL in the afternoon or at night.

“Being able to be both on the ground as well as behind the scenes makes the work meaningful as we are involved in the whole process of the TEL project. The unpredictability of circumstances when working on projects and the varying conditions on-site make the work environment dynamic and stimulating,” he says.

Structured for progress
When Mr Lee first applied for the LTA scholarship as a student, he was not sure which area of engineering he wanted to specialise in.

Through two internships with LTA, he was exposed to the breadth of work across its various divisions, including systems engineering. New technical knowledge he gained on the job deepened his interest in the specialised field of systems engineering.

Being an LTA scholar means he gets to work in different divisions, providing him with varied learning opportunities. As he progresses in his career, he will get to learn about other MRT lines and rail systems, and develop new skills and deepen his technical knowledge along the way.

“My long-term career ambition would be to develop, test and commission high-performing and safer rail systems in Singapore,” he says.

As a scholar, Mr Lee also gets to interact with LTA’s senior management as well as colleagues from other statutory boards within the Ministry of Transport (MOT) through initiatives such as the MOT Family Induction Programme.

These opportunities allow him to form meaningful working relationships with colleagues outside LTA as well as those from LTA’s different divisions.

To those interested in an engineering career, Mr Lee has this advice: Take time to discover your passion and always seize the opportunity to learn.