While most of her peers continued on to university after graduating from
Having obtained a Diploma in Food Science and Technology, her reason for choosing to pursue the unconventional route was simple: she wanted to be certain that the industry was right for her.
“I was very sure that I wanted to reaffirm my interests. I didn’t want to dive straight into it and regret (doing so) later on,” she explained.
The programme is a work-learn programme that allows fresh graduates from polytechnics to get a head-start in careers related to their discipline of study, providing them with opportunities to peruse and build on the skills and knowledge acquired in school.
“I thought it would be a great platform to gain a better understanding of what the industry is really like. We learn many things from school, but there are a lot of things that go beyond examination papers.”
For Xin Yi, she joined the programme with KH Roberts. The food flavourings and ingredients maker is among the organizations who have established strategic partnerships with SkillsFuture Singapore.
“When I came onboard the programme, I went to a few companies for interviews, and after evaluating my choices, I decided that I wanted to join KH Roberts as I had an interest in food flavours. Previously, I didn’t get much exposure to (it) and I was interested to find out more.”
Despite coming in with little experience, she gets to work alongside full-timers in her role as a Quality Control Executive. Her job requires her to evaluate the materials used in food flavours.
“Typically, I evaluate them based on organoleptic properties, such as appearance, taste and texture. I get to decide whether or not they get approved based on my evaluation.”
“When necessary, I will also work with other departments like R&D to conduct the evaluation, and other departments such as procurement and regulatory.”
Her experience with KH Roberts has allowed her to gain new insights and a better understanding of flavours.
“Flavours are made up of different materials, so any slight addition or subtraction actually makes a huge difference. I can differentiate the different nuances of flavours.”
Apart from that, Xin Yi also believes that the programme has helped her sharpen of her analytical skills and even improve her interpersonal communication.
Her stint at KH Roberts has even allowed her to rub shoulders with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, who was gracing an event celebrating KH Roberts’ 50th anniversary and the opening of its new Integrated Manufacturing Facility. During a tour of the facility, he spoke to Xin Yi about her experience with the programme.
Mr Chan even posted a picture of their meeting on his personal Facebook page, with the caption: “I met with one of KH Roberts’ employees, Ms Chua Xin Yi, who successfully completed an 18-months Advanced Diploma in Applied Food Sciences offered under the Earn and Learn Programme (ELP). Investments in the “hardware” of transformation, such as new technology, can only succeed when complemented by the “software” of workers’ skills.”
With a fruitful experience under KH Roberts, Xin Yi is hoping that the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme continues to expand. Since 2015, the programme has been introduced in 25 sectors, including Aerospace, Biomedical Sciences and Food Services.
“I do wish these opportunities open up to for other sectors too, so that many more people can benefit from them.”
Photos by Brandon Neo of the DANAMIC team.