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Keppel – Building Ships And A Marching Contingent

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Ong Chee Lam had to get both the company’s ships and Keppel’s NDP contingent in marching order.

I started my career search during my second year at NTU. I researched many companies but Keppel stood out as a global leader in the exciting offshore and marine industry. Inspired to pursue a career with Keppel, I applied for the Keppel Group Scholarship.

My interest in the offshore and marine industry grew even ­stronger after attending a tea session and yard visits as a shortlisted applicant for Keppel’s scholarship programme.  As a mechanical engineering student, I was fascinated to see first-hand the yard’s engineers in action.

To be considered for the scholarship, I went through a written test and rigorous interviews with the company’s management. Apart from my academic records and CCA achievements, having a positive attitude and personal values that were aligned with Keppel’s core values were also important. In 2009, I was awarded the scholarship.

At NTU, I was in touch with Keppel not only through internships, but also through group-wide activities such as the Keppel Games. I also kept abreast of company ­developments through its monthly publication, Keppelite.

Upon graduating in 2011, I joined Keppel Singmarine, the specialised ­shipbuilding division of Keppel Offshore & Marine, as a piping engineer. Having been there as an intern, I fitted in quickly with the team. Thanks to their mentoring ­programme, I was able to learn from colleagues who readily shared their experience and expertise. We needed this strong teamwork in order to complete our projects on time, within budget and to the satisfaction of our client.

A day in the yard is never without excitement as there are always ­challenges to overcome in our projects. It is this ­excitement that keeps me engaged and feeds my hunger for knowledge. Currently building a subsea construction vessel, my biggest challenge is to ensure that the vessel will be launched on time. It will then embark on its maiden voyage to the Caspian Sea to meet our customer. I find it exciting to be involved in work that is so global.

Playing Hard Too
Apart from work in the yard, there are many ­opportunities for personal development. In 2013, I was nominated the Keppel Games team manager. The sports events provided me with another platform to hone my leadership skills besides having fun myself.

In 2014, I was honoured to represent Keppel Corporation as the Contingent Commander for the National Day Parade. It was a proud and glorious moment to lead the Keppel contingent in the march-past to celebrate the Singapore’s birthday. As a Contingent Commander, I had to assemble a team to organise and facilitate training sessions with the other ­participating organisations. It was a massive four-month task though the logistic plans started in end 2013. Looking back, strong teamwork was the key to our successful participation in the parade.

I am thankful for all these opportunities to grow with the Keppel Group, both at the yard and through Group-wide activities. There is a wealth of ­opportunities to develop personally and ­professionally. Throughout my time here, I’ve learnt how Keppel’s ‘Can-Do!’ ­spirit spurs us to put our hearts and souls into providing solutions to challenges and achieving excellence. I believe this spirit is an important value which will inspire any individual to go far. I look forward to many more exciting times ahead with Keppel as we continue our journey in the exciting global offshore and marine industry.

Ong Chee Lam
Keppel Group Scholarship
Age: 28
Now: Assistant Project ­Manager, Keppel Singmarine
Attained: BEng (Mechanical) in 2011, MSc (Systems and Project Management) in 2014, from NTU
From: Anderson Junior College