SPEECH BY MAJOR GENERAL NG CHEE MENG
CHIEF OF AIR FORCE,
AT THE SINGAPORE POLYTECHNIC CONVENTION CENTRE
THURSDAY, 26 MAY 2011 (Session 10)



Good afternoon

 

Members of the Board of Governors,

 

Mr. Tan Hang Cheong,
Singapore Polytechnic Principal,

 

Distinguished Guests,

 

and Graduands,

 

CONGRATULATING THE GRADUANDS

    I

    am delighted to be part of the 51st Singapore Polytechnic Graduation Ceremony, witnessing the graduation of more than 400 of you here today. Congratulations to all of you on the completion of your course. For those graduating with your diploma, today marks an important milestone as you embark on your next phase of life. Some of you may proceed to further your studies while others may decide to enter the workforce. As for those of you who had completed your advanced or specialist diplomas, I know that your employers will be looking forward to your valued contributions as you return to your workplace.

  1. As you plan for your next phase of life, allow me to share with you my view on the latest developments in the local aerospace industry and the opportunities that are available to you. I will also share my thoughts on how all of you can succeed in your future endeavours.

INDUSTRY DEMAND

  1. Last year, exports from the local aerospace industry were worth S$7 billion. Singapore, with its reputation for quality, efficiency and dependability, is staged to be the Asia's Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) hub. The aviation sector remains promising, with notable investments by 'heavy-weights' such as Honeywell, Rockwell Collins and Rolls Royce. Rolls Royce had recently invested $320 million on an engine assembly and test facility in Seletar Aerospace Park. Overall, the Seletar Aerospace Park is expected to contribute S$3.3 billion annually towards Singapore's economy. Recently, five Singaporean companies had decided to work together to form an integrated manufacturing consortium, the first of its kind. This is expected to boost the local aerospace industries, bringing in more businesses. What this means to you is that the aerospace industry will look to the school houses like Singapore Polytechnic to provide quality graduands to meet its job demands. In this regard, the RSAF is no different. We operate and maintain advanced aircraft and weapon systems equipped with leading edge technologies, such as our latest F-15SG fighters. We are therefore also looking for quality people, with the right training and skills, capable of operating and maintaining such state-of-the-art systems.

  2. To meet these industry demands, Singapore Polytechnic has done a good job in making sure that its graduands are equipped with the relevant skills and expertise. Singapore Polytechnic had constantly engaged the industries to update its curriculum. The RSAF was honoured to be invited to participate in the last curriculum review for Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering. Because of this, the RSAF had, over the last 10 years, been able to recruit quality graduands from Singapore Polytechnic to meet our manpower demands.Through this observation, it is clear to me that Singapore Polytechnic is committed to making sure that its graduands remain relevant to the industries.

QUALITY OF SINGAPORE POLYTECHNIC TRAINING

  1. Looking ahead, as the different local industries grow to become regional and global hubs, the workforce will need to become more adaptive as they find themselves working in multi-national corporations locally or overseas. I believe the well-rounded education provided by Singapore

  2. Polytechnic had indeed given its graduands an advantage over their peers as they step into the working sector. I can say this because I have seen many Singapore Polytechnic graduands in action when the RSAF deploys globally, to almost every continent in the world. The Singapore Polytechnic graduands have always shown exceptional adaptability and performed no matter what their jobs were and where they did it. For example, we had a Singapore Polytechnic graduand, Chung Wei Kern, who just recently retired as a Colonel. He joined as a senior technician and later moved on to become an outstanding UAV engineer. When he retired, he was managing the entire RSAF supply chain. This demonstrated the quality of the wellrounded training that Singapore Polytechnic has provided on top of the basic trade education. This is just one of the examples that make me believe that Singapore Polytechnic has prepared you well to take on the wide spectrum of careers available to you.

  3. I am also aware from recent studies and surveys that more and more diploma holders aspire to obtain a degree after they graduate from the polytechnics. I am sure many of you today are planning to pursue further studies. In this respect, I am also confident that Singapore Polytechnic had provided you sufficient knowledge and skills to pursue your aspirations. Having successfully completed a highly intensive and demanding course, I am sure you are ready to take on the challenge for higher studies. Let me encourage you with a life story. I know of a Singapore Polytechnic graduand, Military Expert 4 Eng Kwee Guan, an Air Force Engineer, who graduated from Singapore Polytechnic in 1999 and joined the RSAF as a senior technician. He was later sponsored by the RSAF to pursue his degree studies at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in the UK. During the course, he was awarded the Usmani prize in microelectronics. The award was given to students with outstanding achievements in the area of micro-electronics. Even after his basic degree, he continued with his academic pursuits and is currently studying for his Masters degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology in the United States, again under SAF sponsorship. Kwee Guan's dedication to continually upgrade himself is no doubt due to the strong foundations that he has received from Singapore Polytechnic's high quality education.

CLOSING REMARKS

  1. At this point, I would like to also share with you some of the important personal attributes that organisations look for in their employees. I will share with you two of such qualities. They are commitment and passion. Commitment to what you do will ensure that you continuously do what is best for the organisation and the people around you. On the other hand, passion is about finding meaning and purpose in your work that will continuously drive you and propel you to do better every time. I urge you to embrace these qualities, as I believe they will form the foundations for your success as you embark on your working life.

  2. Once again, today marks the beginning of your journey. I believe that the diploma you have earned will be the stepping stone to a challenging and fulfilling career ahead. I know that you will continue to uphold the outstanding reputation of your predecessors and succeed in your future endeavours. I wish you all a bright future ahead. Thank you.