Be Responsible For Your Personal Development – Upskill To Pursue Your True Calling

13 Sep 2020 Posted in ⟨Stories⟩

Past experience is one thing, but up-to-date, globally recognised certifications give you the competitive edge above the rest. That is exactly what Li Youwen gained when he took personal interest and responsibility in his own development and upskilled with NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB). His forward-thinking mindset and determination propelled him towards a successful career switch back to his original calling.

Youwen’s career journey has been nothing short of interesting. Despite graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering, he started his first job in a project management and control role. With a strong desire to put his engineering knowledge into practice, he made a job switch to join a local transport company as a Senior Engineer in the hopes of picking up new skills.

“Most of the time when I was at the transport company, I was in a more managerial kind of role rather than engineering,” he recounted. “That’s when it clicked in me that I’m probably better at project management.”

Youwen decided to follow his passion and switch back a career in project management. However, after his stint in engineering, he knew that he needed to refocus his CV back with new credentials. Determined to pursue his passion, he pushed on with training while juggling his full-time job, using his off days or weekends to attend courses!

Why NTUC LHUB Stood Out From The Rest

Youwen actually stumbled upon NTUC LHUB the same way many do, by Googling for training providers.

“It may sound a bit self-centered,” he laughed, when asked about why he decided on NTUC LHUB. Although there were many choices for training providers, his decision was based on a very practical reason: credibility.

“I wanted a well-known brand to help me establish recognition,” shared Youwen. “NTUC is very, very well known in Singapore. I did not choose solely based on price, but I kept in mind the brand, the quality of training, and customer service.”

Presented with a wide range of course offerings from NTUC LHUB, it was tempting to jump into the first thing that caught his eye. However, forward-thinking Youwen wanted to ensure that the courses he chose would benefit him beyond just landing a new job.

“I will consider almost six different criteria before I choose!” he shared. The skills he takes up have to be transferable across jobs, and have international recognition. In the end, Youwen settled on several relevant courses that he felt were both interesting and useful for him, which include Develop a Risk Management Implementation Plan (bizSAFE Level 2), Work At Height, Excel, Project Management Professional (PMP), and PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP).

Applying What He Learned to Daily Life

Amongst the courses he took, one stood out to Youwen: The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) course, where he learned a new project management approach called Agile.

“It is very different from traditional project management. We have to be well… Agile.” Youwen quipped. “We only know roughly what the client wants, and we will start work from there. It teaches us about how to be flexible in absorbing knowledge and coming up with creative ideas.”

“Agile helps a lot in my work, especially for projects with tight deadlines. In the past, I approached projects based on my own experience or advice from others, instead of doing it the right way. Going through the course gave me the correct foundation.”

Youwen was excited to not only apply the Agile methodology in his work, but also in his daily life such as in his house-hunting process.

“I knew my angle, similar to a client, which is that I wanted a home. But the thing is, I did not decide on factors like the size of the house or the location.” he recounted, joking that he pitied his property agent for having to put up with his ever-changing criteria. “Every time I viewed a house, some of my preconceptions would change. But what Agile taught me is to absorb this information and make changes to my decision at the end. Hence I just kept adjusting until I finally found what I was looking for.”

Becoming A More Confident Person

Youwen’s upskilling journey taught him more than just technical skills. The group work sessions and the numerous team presentations during the course helped the initially shy Youwen become more confident in his communication.

“I’m an introvert by nature, so I didn’t really like to speak up. But during my courses at NTUC LHUB, I had to work together with people and slowly, I became more open. I learned how to start off conversations, and how to build friendly relationships,” he said.

Now, Youwen is more confident than ever before in leading his teams, and while it is not an easy feat, Youwen claimed he learned from the best – an NTUC LHUB trainer that influenced his project management style today.

“My Project Management Professional course trainer was very good. He keeps the class lively, removes any potential tensions during debates and engages everyone to share their opinions without judgement. These are real life applications of project management that I could learn from,” recalled Youwen

From observing my trainer’s teaching and interaction method, I incorporated that style into my working life.  

Adopting the Mindset of Continuous Learning

Fast forward to today and Youwen is thriving as a Project Control Manager at Mott MacDonald, where he coordinates multiple global projects. However, learning does not stop there for him as he is always looking for ways to improve himself for the benefit of his team. One skill in particular that interests him? Data analytics.

“In this new age, data is going to be the future. As a project controller, we use data for making decisions. I want to pick up a basic understanding in data science and data architecture, so that my colleagues and I are able to do our jobs much better.”

Youwen attributes his successful career transition to his accreditation for the skills he could bring to the table. When asked what his advice is for others like him who are considering a career switch, he said that research is very important.

“My advice is to identify what your industry of preference is, and the skill sets you need to have as an entry baseline,” Youwen said. “From there, you can get trained and attain certifications. That way, when you actually make the career switch, you won’t be going in on a blank slate, but with some basic knowledge that will help you make a mark!”

Since 2004, NTUC LearningHub has upskilled over 21,000 organisations and achieved over 2.5 million training places across more than 500 courses with a pool of over 400 certified trainers. We are the leading Continuing Education and Training provider in Singapore and we are here to transform your lifelong employability.

For more information on how we can help, visit our Virtual Roadshow or talk to our friendly Course Consultants by reserving a Virtual Live Advisory appointment today.


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