Being a structural engineer is not without its challenges, but Evan Cheok finds the experience at Sembcorp Marine exciting and rewarding.
What course did you take in university? Why did you choose to take it?
With aspirations of building rigs, drillships and the largest structures in the world, I was naturally attracted to a course that could allow me to develop design concepts. Hence, I decided to enroll in the National University of Singapore (NUS) to read Civil Engineering.
Being inclined toward Physics and Mathematics from a tender age made my path toward Engineering all but certain. I was keen on developing what I term an “Engineering judgement” – the acumen to think critically on one’s feet and offer unique solutions to difficult problems. Acquiring this judgement required that I be immersed in a learning environment where I could benefit from the tutelage of experts while actively engaging with broad-minded peers. On this front, NUS had delivered aplenty.
Describe your role in your company and its challenges.
Currently, in the Structure Design department of Sembcorp Marine, I am tasked to align our customer’s expectations with our shipyard’s capabilities. From performing structural analysis for the construction of ship modules to negotiating with clients and monitoring construction progress on-site, every day presents a new challenge to me
Not only is there a need for a high level of technical expertise in providing engineering solutions, but good leadership, communication and organization skills are also always called upon to enable successful job completion.
The offshore sector has been and will continue to be challenging, constantly pushing the boundaries of innovation and demanding cost-efficient construction schedules.
Why did you choose this scholarship?
I have always looked forward to working in an exciting environment, one that allowed me to bring plans on paper to life. In particular, it was the fulfillment of taking part in megastructure construction projects that attracted me to the offshore construction industry. This is exactly what Sembcorp Industries and it’s Marine Business unit could offer, leading me to apply for this scholarship.
Moreover, I felt a natural alignment between Sembcorp’s and my core values. Namely, working at a shipyard requires adaptability and assertive leadership – a blend of traits, which I have honed through my school council and army experiences.
How does Sembcorp select its scholars?
The Sembcorp scholarship process comprises three stages. Each stage serves to assess candidates on different aspects and skills.
The first interview takes a more casual setting, allowing candidates to speak almost freely about their interests and their aspirations. This style allows the interviewers to gain more understanding of the candidate’s motivation toward their career decision.
The second interview gets the candidates to go through a series of activities. These activities would elicit potential scholars’ abilities to think critically on their feet, solve problems, and work as a team.
The final interview is with the company’s senior management. It allows the senior management to gain insight into the strengths and weakness of the candidate, which is also helpful for the job posting if they are offered the scholarship.
What do you think are your strengths?
The late Winston Churchill once said, “a pessimist sees difficulty; an optimist sees an opportunity in difficulty.”
I have long prided myself on being a hungry learner with a positive attitude. There is always something to be learnt, whether through the motion of completing assigned tasks or learning from others who have done better. This mindset has made my working experience very enjoyable, so much so that I look forward to growing every day at Sembcorp Marine – my second home.
With this outlook toward my career, I am confident of seeing through any challenge that comes my way, while also hoping that I can one day inspire others who seek to carve out a similar path.
CHEOK WEI WEN EVAN
Attained: National University of Singapore
Now: Structural Engineer, Sembcorp Marine, Design Engineering
From: Victoria Junior College