Striving to supply cost-effective energy solutions to homes and businesses, SP Group (SP) undertakes research and development to enhance its infrastructure and services. The organisation is currently involved in various projects such as solar panel installations, electric vehicles, energy storage systems, and software integration programmes. Through technological innovation and cutting-edge research, SP is building capabilities and transforming its business to serve customers better and meet the demands of the new energy market.
At the heart of SP’s continued success is its firm commitment to recruit and nurture the organisation’s most important assets—people. Executive Engineers Leong Qian Wei and Chen Zhiyi provide us with an insight into their personal development thus far and career opportunities at SP.
A Calling for Engineering
Since junior college, mathematics and science held a special place in Qian Wei’s heart. Inspired by her father’s strong passion for “troubleshooting and problem solving”, she decided to challenge herself by joining the engineering field. Drawn by SP’s commitment to develop and nurture its talent, Qian Wei undertook a 10-week internship with the company during her university studies. As part of her work attachment, Qian Wei’s mentor brought her along for site visits which gave her a head start for her career after graduation. Through these experiences, Qian Wei learnt more about project management and liaising with different stakeholders such as consultants, contractors and fellow colleagues.
On the other hand, Zhiyi was motivated to become an engineer because of his fascination with building things and how science and technology impacted daily life. He was extremely curious about how and where electricity and gas came from whenever he switched on the lights and the stove. Today, as an engineer who oversees projects in gas transmission, Zhiyi is discovering the answers to his childhood questions, while contributing to the development of the energy sector at the same time.
Leong Qian Wei
A Meaningful Career
As the steward of energy infrastructure integrity, SP endeavours to uphold the highest standards of safety in the delivery of electricity and gas to homes and businesses. Currently part of the team at SP’s Electrical Installation Section, Qian Wei performs audit checks on electrical installations in residential premises such as HDBs, private condominiums and small commercial premises. Her main responsibility is ensuring that the installations comply with the Singapore Safety Standards and regulations. She stresses that “safety is SP’s highest priority”.
In a similar vein, Zhiyi shoulders the heavy responsibility of upkeeping the reliability of SP’s gas network. Besides constant monitoring, he implements projects involving commissioning of new pipelines and renewal works. According to Zhiyi, a typical project life cycle ranges from one to three years. Project challenges include managing different stakeholders and site constraints, before he can see progress and improvement. Consequently, he derives pride and satisfaction from commissioning a project that he oversaw from the initial planning stages.
Pathways for Cultivating Talent
As valued employees of SP, both Qian Wei and Zhiyi have undergone the EDGE (Engineering Development for GraduatEs) journey—a comprehensive five-year training programme that equips SP engineers with knowledge about the organisation and technical competencies. Through job rotations in critical operational areas of SP, trainees become more versatile and adaptable to diverse work environments and job scopes. The programme also allows EDGE engineers from different divisions to build camaraderie and support networks with one another.
In addition, SP engineers can also tap on organisational support to earn the Professional Engineer (PE) certification. Qian Wei and Zhiyi have benefitted from the company’s sponsorship of tutorial classes and the networking opportunities with veteran engineers who provide invaluable advice and encouragement.
Complementing on-the-job training and the structured development programmes are stretch assignments which bring the talent at SP out of their comfort zones. Through these projects, SP holistically nurtures its talent by exposing them to new challenges and experiences beyond their job scope.
Some of Qian Wei’s exciting experiences include emceeing at the SP Scholarship and Sponsorship Award Ceremony, joining the organising committee for the SP Carnival, and performing secretarial duties at strategic management meetings. In particular, she was inspired at the strategic management meetings where she learnt more about the innovative projects which SP was undertaking.
As for Zhiyi, it was a trip down nostalgia lane as he was part of The Pitch 2017 Committee and anchored SP’s sponsorship of the Singapore Frontier Challenge. Organised by a local university, the competition brought like-minded students together to solve real-world issues and Zhiyi was “infected” by the students’ zeal and their ideas about how the future should be.
An Open Mind
In an industry where change is constant, Qian Wei believes engineers should be resilient and flexible to cope with new technologies and developments in areas such as renewable energy and Full Retail Contestability. She says, “Today’s engineers need to be critical and innovative in developing engineering solutions to meet the demands of an evolving customer landscape.”
Zhiyi echoes Qian Wei’s thoughts, stating that engineers at SP are constantly challenged to think faster and better. Desirable qualities in an engineer include keeping an open mind and the curiosity to keep learning and developing oneself. Providing some words of advice to aspiring engineers, he shares, “Do not be comfortable with the status quo. It is important to have the perennial desire to understand how things work as this is the basis of engineering. From here, innovative engineering solutions can be conceived and applied.”