(Photo: Shahril (right) at NTU BSc MS Graduates Get-Together in 2012)
Shahril: One of the changes include opening the scholarship programme to non-maritime students – a change that I support fully – as this results in a greater pool of talent that maritime companies can select from. This also helps the industry get the best talents.
Raymond: Having a diverse set of talents can only benefit the industry. For instance, bringing in people with backgrounds in technology can help to support the industry’s digital transformation.
Raymond: I have always found the maritime industry exciting due to the international aspect of shipping.
Shahril: While my ideal career was to be a teacher, I decided to stay in the maritime industry after accepting the MaritimeONE scholarship.
Shahril: I started my career in Norden on August 2011, and I have worked there ever since (I left for another job in 2018 to vary my experience, but returned to Norden shortly after). I found that Norden is probably one of the best, if not the best, place to work in because they prioritised the development of their trainees. From providing their trainees mentorship to overseas work placements – this level of commitment to employee development was hard to find in other organisations. Furthermore, their flat organizational structure ensures swift decision making, which is key to succeeding in an industry as volatile as shipping.
It was also due to the industry’s vibrant and globalised nature that convinced me to stay in maritime, where one gets to meet people from all around the world. Take the process of handling a shipment of coal from Indonesia to Philippines for example. One has to charter a vessel from its owners in London, hire a crew from Eastern Europe, before liaising with agents from Indonesia and Philippines. In such an interconnected environment, adaptability is key to ensuring everything runs smoothly.
Raymond: When I was volunteering at the Mission to Seafarers Singapore, I started to appreciate the significance of the industry and how the livelihoods of millions around the world depend on it. In the course of my career, I actually left for a short stint in the technology sector, but soon realised that nothing excited me more than working in the maritime industry. However, my experience in tech inspired me to bring some ideas into shipping to improve things. Thus, I founded Constant Bearing in early 2019. With my partner, we intend to revolutionise the maritime industry by improving the way that the port ecosystem works.
Raymond: I wanted to gain practical hands-on experience in the maritime industry upon graduation. I was very fortunate that the Management Trainee role I took on in my first job in Swiber allowed me to do so – I got to work in shipyards and on ships. In addition, I had the opportunity to work overseas, which was a real eye opener.
Another of my career goals was to make my mark in the industry by introducing tangible changes that can take the industry further. I am currently working on a software solution for a client, which I believe, will provide greater automation to ship agencies. I have yet to achieve that goal, but I am proud to say that I am living my dream!
Shahril: I have achieved my goal of working abroad when I was posted to Copenhagen for two years. My other goal was to encourage the younger generation to consider maritime careers, and I am happy to say that I successfully convinced my younger brother to switch from a career in outdoor adventure to maritime.
Shahril: I am proud to be selected as a mentor in Norden where I get to nurture our trainees and I am currently in my second year as a mentor. My most memorable experience in this journey is guiding my first trainee to becoming one of Norden’s rising stars, all within the span of one year.
Raymond: When I was working as an Owner’s Representative in a shipyard in China, I was in charge of delivering six sister Anchor Handling Tug Supply Vessels (AHTS). Completing my first delivery gave me a huge sense of fulfilment, and I signed my name on one of the AHTS’ tyre fenders. Months later, when I was in Saudi Arabia, I was really happy to find that my signature was still on it. I am also proud to have organised regular industry networking events for offshore professionals – the first of its kind back then.
(Photo: Raymond (right) at YES Club Year End Networking Event in 2010)
Raymond: I believe that SMF and MPA are on the right track in their efforts to raise awareness of the maritime industry and attract students to the industry. However, one suggestion is to provide and possibly fund overseas internships, to showcase the international aspect of shipping. It would also be good to show the significance of the maritime industry in the lives of people, in order to attract the sort who are looking to make a difference.
Shahril: Similarly, I think a lot has already been done in this aspect. Perhaps SMF could explore organising career talks for parents, and utilise social media even more, to target the younger generation.