Age is no barrier to learning

Pan Asia Logistics senior manager for operations Sundaram Velosamy, 52, started work with an O-level certificate, and now plans to do a master's degree. Logistics executive Ong Moh Hong, 68, conquered a steep learning curve to familiarise himself wit
Pan Asia Logistics senior manager for operations Sundaram Velosamy, 52, started work with an O-level certificate, and now plans to do a master's degree. Logistics executive Ong Moh Hong, 68, conquered a steep learning curve to familiarise himself with a new, more complex IT system.PHOTO: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Logistics executive Ong Moh Hong, 68, had 29 years of experience in the industry when he joined Pan Asia Logistics two years ago. But he faced a steep learning curve.

The company was launching a second warehouse facility with a new information technology system. Mr Ong had used an automated system to pick goods at his previous company, but this one was more complex and had a different interface.

"I felt a bit lost, I didn't know where to start because it was completely new," he said.

But within two months, he had familiarised himself with the system and was helping younger workers.

Pan Asia's senior manager for operations Sundaram Velosamy taught Mr Ong and his younger colleagues how to use the software, after being part of the team to bring in the automated warehouse management system that he saw on a study trip to Germany.

Mr Sundaram, 52, also mentors those who work under him, helping them identify their skill levels when they join the company and their training needs as they progress.

"I make sure my managers mentor people under them too," he said.

Mr Sundaram himself had, since starting work in 1989, upgraded his skills from an O-level certificate to a degree in logistics. He plans to take up a master's degree next.

Both Mr Sundaram and Mr Ong were held up by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday as role models for lifelong learning and mentoring.

Mr Heng also held up their company for treasuring and training older workers, and "for creating an inclusive culture of constant development for their staff".

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'Age is no barrier to learning'. Print Edition | Subscribe