Six years ago, Mr Wai Chee Man was working as a security officer at DBS Bank's Plaza Singapura branch, where he sometimes helped to hand out brochures to customers when it was crowded.
He was surprised when the bank offered him a job as a teller, even though he had no experience in banking. "I thought why not? I felt there would be more opportunities to learn because banks cover a wide scope," said the 29-year-old.
From there, he moved into customer service, and last year he asked to try wealth planning.
He spent around three months attending in-house courses and sitting external exams on investment and insurance products, and is now a wealth planning manager helping clients to build their savings and maximise their investment returns.
He also studied for a diploma in commerce in his own time, after joining the bank with just an O-level certificate to his name.
Mr Wai was one of six recipients of the inaugural Model Worker award given out by the National Trades Union Congress at its annual May Day Awards ceremony yesterday.
He said he hopes to develop his knowledge and skills in more sophisticated investment products so that he can serve high-net-worth clients in DBS Treasures platform.
"I never thought I would end up here, but I enjoy my job because I can learn so much," he said.
Fellow recipient Johnsten Wee, 30, a patient service executive at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, was part of a team that initiated mobile billing at the specialist outpatient clinic where he works.
The team loaded a computer and printer system onto a trolley which can be pushed from patient to patient to process payment while the patients are waiting to see the doctor, so that they no longer have to wait for billing after consultation.
Mr Wee also learnt how to do medication supply verification to help patients order medicine while they are at the clinic, to shorten their waiting time at the pharmacy.
"I hope to inspire others to look at personal upgrading as a way of life, whether it's learning new things or taking on new challenges," he said.