Girl wins gold in engineering category in skills competition in Singapore, first one to do so

Ms Shauna Tan was a surprise winner in the traditionally male dominated Information Network Cabling category.
Ms Shauna Tan was a surprise winner in the traditionally male dominated Information Network Cabling category.ST PHOTO: SONG TAO

SINGAPORE - Ms Shauna Tan was apprehensive about being the sole female competitor in the Information Network Cabling category of this year's WorldSkills Singapore competition, but that did not stop her from beating five of her male counterparts and winning the gold medal.

The 18-year old electrical engineering student from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) (College East) became the first girl to win a gold in the category since it was established in 2011. She was one of 91 tertiary students who received medals from the Senior Minister of State for Education and Trade and Industry, Mr Chee Hong Tat, on Tuesday (July 10) at the closing ceremony of the biennial skills competition at Republic Polytechnic in Woodlands.

This year's competition was the biggest yet, boasting nine more skills categories and about 90 more contestants than the 2016 edition. Ninety-one medals - 34 gold, 30 silver and 27 bronze - were presented to deserving contestants from the polytechnics, ITE colleges and universities.

Ms Tan, who received some of the loudest cheers from the audience when she stepped onto the stage, was a surprise winner in the traditionally male dominated Information Network Cabling category, in which competitors must demonstrate their ability to plan, install and test network cable systems.

She said: "There are a lot of people who think girls can't do engineering, science and math and because of this, girls are afraid to join these courses. I joined the competition to prove them wrong and be a role model to the girls."

She added that being the sole girl in the competition was nothing out of the ordinary, considering that there were only 18 girls in her class of 40 electrical engineering students.

This year also marked the first time that university students participated in the competition.

Mr Lewis Tan and Mr Toh Shu Han, first year engineering students from the Singapore Institute of Technology, were the only university students to take home medals this year. The bronze medalists competed as a team in the Rapid Transit Systems category, which involved tasks related to power supply and signalling for trains.

"This competition gave us exposure to what the working industry is like so we’ll be more prepared when we do enter the industry," said Mr Tan.