Reaching out to young S'poreans with message that engineering is 'cool'

Mr Chade-Meng Tan's article ("Wanted: Jolly Good Engineers"; July 18) clearly demonstrates engineering as a worthwhile career for pursuing one's dreams.

It is important to note that Mr Tan's interest in engineering began at an early age, and continued into his adult life. Kudos to him for being the first Singaporean hired at Google USA.

His story underscores the importance of sustained positive encounters with science and engineering in one's schooling years. The challenge for us is to create this positive experience through a supportive ecosystem of "jolly good partners", so as to instil in young Singaporeans the love for discovery and experimentation.

The Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) and Science Centre Singapore (SCS), together with our industry partners, have embarked on a long-term plan to reach out to students through active participation as well as hands-on discovery programmes.

This will allow students to see, touch and experience engineering in its many forms: from the basic building blocks to developing their innovative and creative skills by working on solutions to real-life problems such as reducing energy wastage, climate change and water conservation.

The annual National Engineers Day, started in 2010, celebrates the contributions of engineers by showcasing the efforts of students from schools, polytechnics, the Institute of Technical Education and universities, with the Energy Innovation Challenge as the centrepiece.

This competition highlights both the students' efforts as well as the support from their mentors, who are practising engineers. More of such programmes will bring home the clear message that engineering is "cool".

SCS has also established a Singapore Academy of Young Engineers and Scientists to provide a space for young people to come together to share ideas and organise programmes for their peers to cultivate their interests in engineering.

The goal is to instil in our young the spirit of discovery and thrill of hands-on experience, to handle the disruptive changes ahead of them.

It is with this spirit of discovery and thrill of the hunt that we invite young Singaporeans to take up the challenge that Mr Tan has so clearly laid out: Take up engineering as a means to pursue your dreams; the coolness just happens to come with it.

Edwin Khew Teck Fook President

The Institution of Engineers, Singapore

Lim Tit Meng (Associate Professor)

Chief Executive Officer

Science Centre Singapore

Correction note: An earlier version of this letter referred to the Energy Innovation Challenge as the Engineering Innovation Challenge. This has been corrected.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2016, with the headline 'Reaching out to young S'poreans with message that engineering is 'cool''. Print Edition | Subscribe