Attachment builds his confidence and skills

Mr Ee, seen here in a Nanyang Polytechnic lab, says his experience at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals helped him better appreciate his course of study in Biologics and Process Technology.
Mr Ee, seen here in a Nanyang Polytechnic lab, says his experience at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals helped him better appreciate his course of study in Biologics and Process Technology.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

When polytechnic student Ee Shyan Kang, 20, first started his diploma in Biologics and Process Technology three years ago, he did not enjoy the subject.

But a seven-month attachment with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals helped change his mind about the industry, which looks at making biological drugs using living cells.

"I realised that biopharmaceuticals has good growth prospects in Singapore, and I'm glad I stayed in it," he said.

During his attachment, which ended last week, Mr Ee spent the first few months shadowing workers and undergoing training.

He learnt how to operate machines which cleaned and steamed certain equipment, and how to verify and calibrate instruments which measure fluids from the production process.

He was then able to work as a fermentation technician for the rest of the internship.

He said he is grateful that his course offers an extended internship programme beyond the regular four months. "A longer internship lets me do more value-added work, instead of just getting a brief introduction," he said.

More training and attachment opportunities for workers looking to join up-and-coming industries were announced yesterday in this year's Budget.

Mr Ee, who is finishing his final year at Nanyang Polytechnic, plans to pursue a degree in chemistry or chemical engineering after his national service. He then plans to look for a job in the biopharmaceutical industry. He said: "The attachment didn't just enhance my knowledge. It also gave me the chance to use advanced technology and equipment and helped me become more confident in my skills."

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Attachment builds his confidence and skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe