Articles

A Strategy for Success

CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholar is embracing the challenges present in the aviation sector and looking forward to bringing it to new heights.
Words Ong Cheow Eng
photos Contributed by CAAS

Jillian1

It is no secret that Singapore prides itself as a vibrant and successful air hub. Over the years, the aviation sector has contributed significantly to Singapore’s successful economy. This is largely credited to the tireless work of the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). CAAS’ roles include overseeing and promoting safety in the industry, providing air navigation services, and developing Singapore as a centre of excellence for aviation knowledge and human resource development. Jillian is a Deputy Manager with the Hub Strategy and Connectivity team under CAAS’ Air Transport Division. Her portfolio is centred on developing strategies to strengthen Singapore’s competitiveness and connectivity as an air hub. She shared with BrightSparks on the exciting opportunities and a fulfilling career as a CAAS scholar.

Let’s start with the scholarship. How was your decision process towards taking up this scholarship like? What motivated you?

I wanted to work in a global, fast-moving industry and the aviation industry fitted the bill perfectly. I also hoped to work in the public sector, where I could make a direct and significant contribution to Singapore as a policymaker. Finally, I was also attracted to the opportunities for career development and progression as a CAAS scholar.

What are your roles and responsibilities at CAAS?

I have just completed a two-year rotation under the Air Hub Strategy and Connectivity section of the Air Transport Division, which is my first posting at CAAS. I was engaged in the development of policies for air hub connectivity and competitiveness, which involved the extensive analysis of the global and regional aviation market, and the in-depth engagement of key aviation stakeholders. One of my key projects was to develop a Tableau dashboard to analyse Changi Airport’s air traffic indicators. I was also involved in analysing the potential of multi-modal transportation through the Singapore air hub.

Jillian2
 

What were some of the challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?

Strategy work requires a clear sense of policy intent, a certain degree of innovation and the careful synthesis of large amounts of data. Establishing frequent “huddles” with team helps to clarify our purpose and brainstorm on our strategy. Policy work oftentimes does not have an “answer key” to follow, especially when such policymaking involves different stakeholders. Therefore, my team and I established forums to engage our stakeholders and better understand their challenges.

What are some opportunities in the organisation you’d love to explore in the near future?

CAAS gives its staff many opportunities to explore areas of professional growth. Internal job rotations are available every two years for us to understand other aspects of CAAS’ work. We are also given opportunities to be attached to other organisations in the transport or aviation sector. Personally, I hope to gain experience in an airline or airport operations-related role. This would expose me to the day-to-day operations of other key aviation stakeholders. It is important to understand the challenges faced “on-the-ground” as part of developing a comprehensive air hub strategy. I also hope to have an opportunity to be posted abroad. The exposure from working abroad could provide me with a deeper understanding of CAAS’ role in the international sphere.

CAAS has a culture of ‘thinking big picture’ and

encourages cross-divisional collaboration.

 

What is the culture like at CAAS and how has it shaped you as a person?

CAAS’ scope of work is broad. We interface with many stakeholders and are in charge of a range of functions in the areas of regulation, aviation development, and air navigation service provision. As such, CAAS has a culture of ‘thinking big picture’ and encourages cross-divisional collaboration. During my time here, I have become more attuned to analysing situations from a broader perspective. I have also become more proactive in seeking out various perspectives to policy problems.

How is it like being a young woman in what is perceived to be a male-dominated industry?

My view is that there are no lack of opportunities for females to progress in the industry. The number of ladies in C-Suite positions in the industry is rising. Also, many in the industry acknowledge that diversity is important, not just in terms of gender, but also in terms of cultural backgrounds and viewpoints. Each perspective could be valuable in its own way to shape the industry’s view of the world and to help in anticipating future challenges. It is also important that the individual takes the initiative, regardless of background, to learn and contribute to his or her environment. I am glad that CAAS is an equal opportunity employer that provide means for individuals to grow in their career.

Any words of advice for students looking to take up this scholarship?

My advice can be summarised as such – picture the future “you”, talk to people, try it out. Firstly, I would advise students to think about where they see themselves in five, even ten years down the road, and consider if the scholarship aligns with their future goals. Next, I would also encourage students to reach out and speak to people who have worked in CAAS before, to learn about various experiences working in CAAS. Lastly, I would encourage students to intern with CAAS to help them find out if they are suited for the culture here.

Featured in Brightsparks Magazine Vol 2 2020


Name:Jillian Chan

Name of Scholarship:CAAS Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship

Designation:Manager (COVID-19 Airport Transformation Office)

Qualification:Master of Engineering (Industrial Engineering & Operations Research), University of California, Berkeley

Looking for a scholarship that’s all about aviation? Introducing the CAAS Scholarship.

Gain a higher education, maximise your talent and take the lead in driving Singapore’s status as a leading global aviation hub.

As a CAAS scholar, you’ll be groomed for key roles in shaping the future of civil aviation and contribute to one of the world’s fastest-growing air hubs. In the process, you’ll get to pursue overseas studies, and gain international and multicultural exposure!

Here’s what our scholars have to say about their experience in CAAS:

Testimonials

 jillian-(crop) “CAAS, with its wide range of functions, offers many opportunities for exposure and experiences in the international and domestic sphere. My current role deals with strategic issues in aviation which is both enriching and challenging. I'm looking forward to job rotations to other roles to learn and contribute to areas such as operations.” 

– Jillian Chan, Manager (COVID-19 Airport Transformation Office)

Master of Engineering (Industrial Engineering & Operations Research), University of California, Berkeley

 gary-(crop) “My work is multi-dimensional and ever changing. I took up a scholarship with CAAS because we have a world leading aviation sector that offers exciting and vibrant career prospects. While I have worked at CAAS for only 1.5 years, I’ve been entrusted with the responsibility to manage major projects. This is encouraging as it reflects the confidence and trust that CAAS places on me, allowing me to develop my career with greater opportunities. 

I was also appointed as the Liaison Officer for the President of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council during his visit to Singapore for the World Civil Aviation Chief Executives Forum in April 2019. This gave me an opportunity to engage with and learn from a top leader.”


- Gary Chew, Manager (Southeast Asia and Pacific), Market Policy and Development

Master of Arts (International & Development Economics), Yale University

 shi-rui-(crop) “I’ve only been working at CAAS for a few months, but my colleagues and leaders have been extremely motivating and inspiring. They’ve helped me ease into work progressively. More importantly, CAAS has been very supportive of my studies. By developing my keen interest in policy formulation and aviation, I’ve been able to put my passion to good use and contribute to Singapore. The cherry on the cake? Definitely having the opportunity to pursue my studies overseas with strong support from my employer!”  

- Wong Shi Rui, Deputy Manager (Airspace Policy)

Master of Arts (East Asian Studies), Stanford University

 simranpal-(crop) “As part of the team involved in the planning and design of Changi Airport’s new mega passenger terminal, Terminal 5 (T5), I’m involved in the analysis and evaluation of the latest T5 designs. And because the T5 project is so extensive and moving at such a rapid pace, we never know what curveball may be thrown our way next. What makes it all worthwhile is when Changi remains the air hub of choice and continues to emerge as the best airport in the world.”

- Simranpal Kaur, Deputy Manager (Airport Development and Planning)

Master of Science (Management), London Business School, UK  
 marc-(crop)  “I was looking for a scholarship that could offer me plenty of opportunities for learning and development in a wide variety of fields. The CAAS Scholarship not only gave me the opportunity to experience a diverse range of roles, it also enabled me to pursue courses on various topics such as public policy, data analytics and management skills. The lessons and experience I have gained through taking on these varied job functions have been invaluable in my professional development.”
 
– Marc See, Head (Aviation Development - Airline and Terminal Operations)

Master of Engineering (Aeronautical Engineering), Imperial College, London





Last Updated on 26 October 2020