SPEECH BY MR TONG CHONG HEONG
MANAGING DIRECTOR/CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER OF KEPPEL OFFSHORE
& MARINE AND CHAIRMAN OF KEPPEL AmFELS
47TH GRADUATION CEREMONY
24 MAY 2007 (SESSION 7)
Members of the Board of Governors
Mr Low Wong Fook
Principal, Singapore Polytechnic
Parents and Graduands
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 I am happy to join you at this 47th Graduation Ceremony of Singapore Polytechnic. I share the joy of all graduands and their parents who are here this evening. Congratulations and well done!
AND OPPORTUNITIES IN THE OFFSHORE AND MARINE INDUSTRY
2 Singapore's economy grew by 7.7% last year. Recent economic forecasts indicated that our country's economy would grow at about 4.5 to 6.5 % this year. In the year 2006, about 124,000 new jobs were created and the outlook for this year remains bright. For those of you who are now entering the job market, the job opportunities and prospects are very good.
3 The Polytechnic Employment Survey conducted in 2006 showed that the demand for polytechnic graduates was strong. Graduates managed to secure employment within five months of their course completion. Graduates from the engineering courses enjoyed relatively high salaries. This is a good piece of news for all of you.
4 As I come from the Offshore and Marine industry, I would like to comment on the excellent employment opportunities in this sector of our economy. Singapore today is one of the world's premier ship repair and ship conversion centres. . Our offshore and marine industry has positioned itself as the global leader, commanding about 80% of the world's jack-up rig orders, and 70% of the market share in the conversion of specialised Floating Production Storage and Offloading or FPSO platforms. We are also a niche player in the construction of customised and specialised vessels. In addition, besides world class shipyards, Singapore hosts leading marine equipment manufacturers and classification societies from all over the world. Singapore has also established itself as a centre for the repair of a wide range of vessels, especially the more complex and sophisticated ships, and a niche builder of specialized ships
5 Over the last 3 years, Singapore's offshore and marine industry has been growing significantly. The industry has an annual turnover of more than S$7 billion. A strong foundation in design and engineering capabilities, coupled with the ability to manage and execute large projects has earned Singapore a reputation for speed, quality and cost effectiveness in the global offshore and marine community.
6 With a critical mass of world class shipyards and leading offshore and marine companies in Singapore, the industry offers rewarding careers in diverse areas. Excellent career prospects for polytechnic graduates as Assistant Engineers, Project Supervisors, Designers, Planners, Commercial Officers, Quality Control Inspectors, Assistant Ship Project Managers and Safety Officers are available in this sector of the economy. The salaries offered are attractive compared to those technologists in other sectors.
7 Given the global nature of the industry you will also have the opportunity to travel and broaden your horizons, Keppel, for example, has yards in 11 countries worldwide, including Brazil, the United States and the Netherlands. We sent many of our employees on overseas assignments for training and development.
8 For those of you who watch TV, I believe you might have already had a glimpse of the offshore industry in the Drama serial on Channel 8 called The Peak. It gave a good representation of the industry as a whole although I must caution you that the offshore and marine industry is not for the fainthearted. It is for those people who want challenges and a highly rewarding career. You have to be innovative, adaptable and be ready to pick up your bags and travel to anywhere in the world.
9 As graduants from the School of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering, you will find many applications for your skills, both in the engineering-related and other industries. Your training will stand you in good stead in a range of sectors. What matters most in the job market will be your willingness to pick up new knowledge and skills, whatever the industry you are in. You have to be on the constant lookout for new applications and new ways of doing things.
BUILDING ON YOUR STRENGTHS
10 Some of you will be entering the workforce now, and others will do so in a few years, after you graduate from university. Either way, you will find that you have received an education that equips you with the skills and knowledge to get started. You may sometimes ponder over the factors that would lead you to success. Very few people achieve success by accident. Most people who achieve success would have planned and set goals to achieve it. To succeed, apart from taking the initiative and making an effort to excel in whatever you do, you must have the passion for and in what you do. There are many success factors, but I will only mention a few of them.
11. One success factor is achievement motivation - One has to understand what it takes to achieve excellence and puts forth his effort to do the job well. Another success factor is adaptability. This is the ability and willingness to alter behaviour and opinions in light of new information, changing situations and different environments and cultures. Networking is also a success factor. One has to build, or maintain ethical relationships or networks with people who are, or might someday be, useful in achieving work-related goals. To attain success, it is important to have problem solving ability. This means analyzing problems systematically, organizing information, identifying key factors, identifying underlying causes and generating solutions. Last but not least, one has to function effectively in work teams as it is important to work cooperatively with others, being part of a team, as opposed to working separately or competitively.
12 I am confident that with the education and training at the Singapore Polytechnic, you will have learnt all these factors that would shape your path and growth. I wish you success in careers and future endeavours.