MPA ropes in young people as Maritime Youth Ambassadors to share knowledge about industry

(From left) MaritimeSG Youth Ambassadors Ms Lovine Tan, Ms Sarah Sharieff and Mr Katiravan Suparmaniam. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF MPA

SINGAPORE - For Ms Lovine Tan, it was a no-brainer when it came down to what she aspired to work as. Growing up, she would listen to her father's stories about working as an engineer at the port.

With opportunities that include travelling to different parts of the world, such as China, South Korea and Saudi Arabia, the now 23-year-old finds the industry to be "extremely diverse and interesting".

Ms Tan, who moved back to Singapore at the age of 16 after being in Saudi Arabia for 6½ years to enrol in then Anderson Junior College, now called Anderson Serangoon Junior College, found her interest further fueled when she had to study for the General Paper (GP).

The GP lessons often focused on the maritime industry as a topic, and she began researching the industry further, before applying to the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Bachelor of Science in Maritime Studies programme.

During her last semester at the university, she began a weekly podcast specifically catered to those working or interested in the maritime industry.

She would curate bite-sized content about the latest developments in global shipping and supply chain operations.

Last month, Ms Tan was one of 18 students appointed as the Maritime and Port Authority's first batch of MaritimeSG Youth Ambassadors (MYAs).

The programme provides youth leaders a platform to impart knowledge on the maritime movement to their peers and raise awareness of the industry in Singapore, dubbed MaritimeSG, through youth-to-youth advocacy.

Selected from local institutes of higher learning across various academic disciplines, including maritime, business and law, the MYAs will serve for two years.

Ms Tan said of her appointment: "I think the industry is better known now than previous years, but more can definitely be done for more young people to understand it.

"I think the only time they are affected or hear about supply chains is when their Shopee parcel is delayed. With the various initiatives taken by MPA and the MYAs, I hope that can change now."

Ms Sarah Sharieff chanced upon the industry while scrolling through polytechnic websites after her O-level studies. She then joined Singapore Polytechnic, which partnered with Singapore Maritime Academy for maritime courses.

The 20-year-old MYA, who is interested in working in the commercial side of the industry, hopes to reach out to secondary school students and explain more about the different ways to improve efficiency in shipping through digitalisation and the concept of decarbonisation.

The programme provides youth leaders a platform to impart knowledge and raise awareness of the maritime industry in Singapore. PHOTO: MPA.GOV.SG

Another MYA, Mr Katiravan Suparmaniam, was, like Ms Tan, also influenced by a family member. The 24-year-old NTU mechanical engineering student used to eagerly listen to his brother's experience at work when he returned home as a design engineer on a ship.

Mr Katiravan became interested in studying the mechanics of a ship, which led to his aspiring to be a seafarer. As an MYA, he wishes to reach out to peers who are also interested in seafaring but have little knowledge of it and how to get started on it.

He urges young people to explore what the maritime field has to offer, and as an MYA, he hopes to use his networking opportunities to guide them to the right industry leader or career path.

He said: "I believe that there is something out there for everyone, and it does not have to be particularly (based on) what they have studied. I believe the youth should explore different career options and opportunities, especially for such a broad industry like the maritime one. Keep your options open."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.