Provide students positive experiences with engineering

Mr Lee Teck Chuan's letter aptly sets out valid ways of retaining engineers in their profession ("Engineering a future for engineers"; Aug 10).

He is spot on in surfacing the need to feature engineers with worthy contributions, to establish their central role in Singapore's nation building.

The Engineering Feats @ IES-SG50 competition, organised by The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES), reminds the public that Singapore's 50 years of growth have been built upon the ingenuity and hard work of engineers.

IES hopes that more organisations will work with it to sustain such efforts.

It is also true that engineers might choose to leave their profession due to the lack of clear career paths.

This has driven IES and the National Trades Union Congress to jointly develop the Engineers Progression Pathway, to elucidate the opportunities in various stages of an engineer's career.

Thus far, we have launched the Young Engineers Leadership Programme, the Advanced Engineers Leadership Programme and the Chartered Engineer programme, to help engineers build and develop needed competencies to move forward and upward.

IES is also strongly committed to providing avenues for enterprising engineers to commercialise their ideas. We are looking into setting up an incubator and accelerator to boost local technopreneurship.

To create a long-term pipeline of engineers, it is important to instil in students the spirit of discovery from a young age. Together with the Science Centre Singapore, IES is working towards launching new experiential exhibits next year to stimulate greater passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics among students.

The Energy Innovation Challenge held on National Engineers Day last month saw many students taking up the challenge to design alternative sustainable sources of energy.

It is this positive experience with engineering that will fuel their passion for this field.

IES focuses on working with the industry, academia and government agencies to establish and expand opportunities in engineering, while bringing Singapore's innovation, creativity and future sustainability to the forefront.

Apart from being able to engage in interesting technologies and participate in landmark projects, engineers will always be valued by many sectors due to their systems thinking ability.

Engineers are key human assets to ensure Singapore's economic prosperity and leading edge as an advanced urban city-state.

It is not quite about making engineering cool again, for it is a profession that has never gone out of style and is much needed as Singapore progresses into the next 50 years.

Edwin Khew Teck Fook

President

The Institution of Engineers, Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2016, with the headline 'Provide students positive experiences with engineering'. Print Edition | Subscribe