Ms Enrica Ng, 17, knows that aspiring to join the cleaning sector is an unconventional choice for those her age, but it is the path she has chosen for herself.
She has applied successfully for the National Environment Agency-Industry Scholarship Programme for environmental services, and was one of six students who received the new scholarship in a ceremony at the Environment Building in Scotts Road last Saturday morning.
"I've always been interested in the processes behind the cleaning industry. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted its importance to me even more," said Ms Ng, a first-year applied chemistry student at Singapore Polytechnic (SP).
"This industry, its workforce and the various players have played a big role during the pandemic. The environmental services industry will only gain more importance in society in the years to come."
Ms Ng, who will have to work for three years with her sponsoring company, Cleaning Express, after completing her diploma, said she hopes the stint will provide her with more skills and knowledge.
"I hope that working alongside cleaners will help me understand their problems better so that we can make their jobs better, and increase productivity and efficiency so that they can pursue their desired career paths and earn a higher income, which they deserve," she said.
The scholarship, which was set up last February, is aimed at helping younger and qualified people to enter the environmental services industry, in particular the cleaning and waste management sectors.
Yesterday, four full-term scholarships and two mid-term scholarships were awarded to three polytechnic and three Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students.
The polytechnic students are Ms Ng; Mr Cyrus Ng Boon Bing, 20, in his third year at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, studying engineering science; and Mr Abdul Qahar Zaini, 19, in his third year at SP, studying chemical engineering.
The three from ITE are Mr Danish Sirhan Zulkifli, 17, a second-year mechanical technology student; Mr Daeng Budi Iskandar Jumahat, 17, a second-year built environment (mechanical and electrical services) student; and Mr Muhammad Anaqi Harjuna, 17, a second-year mechanical engineering student.
Mr Iskandar said he found working in environmental services to be important as it helps to keep away diseases and safeguard public health. He is sponsored by Horsburgh Integrated Services.