Raising the next generation of engineers

2017-11-23 - By Serene Yap. Last week, I visited Tampines Secondary School with a few colleagues to speak with some 13 and 14 year-old students. We were invited over as part of the school’s Applied Learning Programme, an enrichment program designed by the Ministry of Education to show students real-world applications of the subjects they learn in school. It was a good fit because this school has chosen STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as an area of focus for their program.

ABB has been participating in STEM Inc. for over a year. STEM Inc. is an initiative by Science Center Singapore which aims to encourage students to take up STEM courses and consider starting a career in similar fields. One of the ways STEM Inc. does this is to introduce schools like Tampines Secondary School to industrial partners like ABB who can help conduct such talks and bring the classroom to life.

After being warmly welcomed by 40 staff and students, we started the session with a brief introduction to ABB and a presentation around what it’s like to be an engineer. The students paid particular attention when we showed them photos and videos of some Singapore landmarks which ABB has worked on and the technology that makes them tick.

This was followed by a Q&A session which was so engaging, the teachers became involved too. They started out with questions like the qualities a good engineer should possess and whether the academic subjects they are taking now will affect their career options in the future. There were also some very direct questions being fielded relating to our salaries and working hours. After some interesting and amusing exchanges, we closed the session with a group photo to remember the day.

We are a big multinational company that is always moving forward and aiming to stay at the frontline of technology. On the other hand, it is also heartening to see ABB taking a keen interest in local initiatives like this. Recently, Science Center Singapore also invited us to support the annual National Robotics Competition. A few engineers including myself spent a few hours there as competition judges, meeting students and assessing their work. Johan also attended the prize-giving ceremony and delivered an inspiring speech to hundreds of staff, students and their parents.

At the end of the day, I’m always proud and happy to be a part of these programs. I believe the effort we put in will go a long way to promote a technology-driven mindset and educate a new generation of engineers who will become the future drivers of our rapidly evolving world.