Conversion programme leads to job promotion

Ms Janna Chui with her boss Emerlin Toh (far right). After Ms Chui underwent the professional conversion programme for Microsoft SQL server administrator or developer, Ms Toh, managing director of Reach Technologies, felt she had held her own and pro
Ms Janna Chui with her boss Emerlin Toh (far right). After Ms Chui underwent the professional conversion programme for Microsoft SQL server administrator or developer, Ms Toh, managing director of Reach Technologies, felt she had held her own and promoted her. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Ms Janna Chui, 53, lost her job as a finance system analyst in 2017, when the media events company she worked for closed its Singapore office.

She spent about half a year hunting for a new one and did freelance accounting work.

She met with no success. "The market wasn't that good, and when people called me, I could tell from their questions that they were paying attention to my age."

She was heartened when in February 2018, software consultancy Reach Technologies employed her as a support consultant and sent her for training through the professional conversion programme (PCP) for Microsoft SQL server administrator or developer.

It involved classroom lessons several times a month for nine months, as well as in-house training.

Although Ms Chui had worked with IT systems, her new job involved back-end "level 2" duties, which require greater understanding of the database and network.

In her former job, she handled front-end "level 1" queries from software users.

Initially, she struggled to meet the demands of some clients. But her employer, Ms Emerlin Toh, felt she had held her own and promoted her to be an assistant support manager after her training.

Ms Toh, 52, managing director of Reach Technologies, said that before tapping the PCP, it was tough to find suitable talent in the industry.

The company has 20 staff in Singapore and 10 overseas. "Now, we are more daring to take in people with no relevant experience, but with the right mindset," she said.

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2020, with the headline 'Conversion programme leads to job promotion'. Subscribe