Regular family outings to Changi beach and fishing trips in Mersing in Malaysia during her youth left no doubt in Ms Nabilah Huda Yazid Johari's mind that she wanted a maritime job.
Late last year, she signed up to join the Tripartite Nautical Training Award (TNTA) programme - an initiative by the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union, NTUC's Employment and Employability Institute, and Workforce Singapore - which trains Singapore workers for careers as nautical officers.
But Ms Nabilah, 21, had to overcome her family's reservations about whether the male-dominated industry was suitable for a woman, especially since the three- year programme includes 18 months of shipboard training.
"I told my parents to see it as an investment in our family's financial future, and that helped them to accept my decision," she said.
She was among 14 cadets inducted into the programme's latest cohort yesterday as her parents looked on, at a ceremony where a previous batch also graduated .
Recruiting young Singaporeans like Ms Nabilah may help ease the local labour crunch in the maritime industry, said National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) director of industrial relations Melvin Yong, who is also an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC.
GARNERING FAMILY SUPPORT
I told my parents to see it as an investment in our family's financial future, and that helped them to accept my decision.
'' MS NABILAH HUDA YAZID JOHARI, on overcoming her family's reservations about whether the male-dominated maritime sector was suitable for a woman.
"In the long run, it helps to strengthen the Singapore core in our maritime industry, as we build a bigger pool of qualified maritime officers," he added.
Many jobs in the sector - which employs more than 170,000 workers and contributes to 7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic project - are filled by foreigners.
The TNTA programme was launched in 2010 to train Singapore residents for Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore qualifications as Class 3 deck officers.
Mr Benjamin Yip, 23, was recognised as the top cadet in the cohort of 18 cadets moving on to shipboard training. He and 25-year-old Navendran Rajandran said they were raring to experience the real deal, and hoped to pursue further studies to qualify as captains.