Fascinated by Singapore’s transport systems since he was a boy, Mr Keith Ng Shao Fei aspired to play a role in building a world-class land transport system for the country.

Used to taking public transport from a young age, he was impressed by the high standards and efficiency of Singapore’s transport network. Mr Ng, 25, says: “This piqued my interest in the functions of transport systems.”

Passion drives excellence

Mr Ng graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the National University of Singapore (NUS) on a Land Transport Authority (LTA ) local undergraduate scholarship in June last year.

An internship with LTA during the second year of his mechanical engineering course at NUS opened his eyes to the dedication and drive required to achieve a world-class land transport system. Naturally, he was drawn to the LTA local undergraduate scholarship.

Besides the monetary benefits, the scholarship has provided him an invaluable opportunity to forge bonds with like-minded scholars from the transport industry who share the keen interest in contributing towards the improvement of Singapore’s transport system.

The LTA local undergraduate scholarship covers tuition and compulsory fees, maintenance allowance, hostel fees (for locals) and the sponsorship of one approved student exchange programme/summer school.

The scholarship is awarded to outstanding individuals who have a strong commitment in developing the public transport environment in Singapore. In addition, he received mentoring support from LTA during his final year of studies for a project that involved designing noise barriers for public roads.

He says: “As much as our group was able to analyse the theoretical possibilities for a suitable selection of material, the practical considerations were lacking. I was able to reach out to my colleagues in LTA who were able to advise on some of the realistic considerations involved and enlightened my group with valuable first-hand information that aided greatly in the design project.”

Renewal of assets

In his current role as an engineer in LTA ’s rail asset, operations & maintenance (RAOM) department, he is involved in the upgrading work of existing transit lines and managing both transit infrastructure and operating assets. He is mainly responsible for the preparation of funding papers for the purpose of asset renewals required in Singapore’s Rail Transit System (RTS ).

Mr Ng says: “My team also works closely with both the Public Transport Operators (PTOs) and various teams from LTA ranging from Policy, Finance to Project Teams so as to ensure a holistic coverage in the plans for asset renewals.”

He has been given opportunities to develop his leadership and functional skills. He highlights his participation in the inaugural Rail Excellence Advisory Panel (REAP) meeting as a secretariat assistant in September.

“From this meeting, I managed to gain a great deal of insights from local and international experts from the rail industry regarding healthy practices and innovative methods to improve the Rail Transit System,” he says.

Reflecting on the career development programmes in LTA , he adds: “The job rotation opportunities within LTA provide us with the flexibility to discover more about the various domain areas one would be interested in. Furthermore, our HR colleagues also provide guidance on career development opportunities.”

Find out more

He advises prospective scholarship applicants to reflect on their aspirations and goals in life. “If you are certain that a specific scholarship is aligned with the goals you have in mind, then go the extra mile to find out more about the organisation,” he says.

He adds that it would be beneficial to talk to employees and network with like-minded friends. It is also useful to approach the organisation to see if it can put you in touch with current scholars to get first-hand accounts that will shed light on most of the fundamental doubts one may have when applying for a scholarship.

“At the end of the day, whether one chooses to take up a scholarship or not, it is most important to commit to personal excellence,” he says.