Singapore Institute of Technology
Feature | SIT

SIT: Where Ambitions Take Flight

Amelia Tan has always been fascinated with planes since childhood, and had her sights set on working in the aerospace industry. Backing her every step, the Singapore Institute of Technology has provided her with the perfect runway to soar towards her dream.

Amelia Tan is from the pioneer cohort of SIT's Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Aircraft Systems Engineering. At time of print, she was on her IWSP at SIA Engineering Company.

Amelia is part of the pioneer cohort of undergraduates pursuing the Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Aircraft Systems Engineering at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), a degree programme in collaboration with SIA Engineering Company. Upon graduation this October, she will be a trainee Licensed Aircraft Engineer (LAE), ready to apply her knowledge and expertise in the sector.

It has been an all-round win for Amelia, with SIT's industry-centric applied learning curriculum providing a solid foundation. In addition, the Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), synonymous with the university, paves the way for undergraduates to apply what they have learnt in the classroom to a real work environment. Amelia's pathway to being an LAE is also shorter, compared to her peers from other autonomous universities (AUs), thanks to SIT's unique programme structure.

BrightMinds spoke with Amelia, who gave her take on her fulfilling academic journey at SIT.

You graduated from Singapore Polytechnic with a diploma in Aeronautical Engineering. What made you decide to further your studies at SIT?

I have an innate passion for aviation as I was fascinated with planes since young, and I am also a hands-on person. While I was at Singapore Polytechnic, I was attached to SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) to complete my final-year project. My supervisor then, was an LAE, and LAEs are responsible for ensuring the safety and airworthiness of the aircraft.

Through that experience, I was inspired to pursue a career in this profession. But, I found out that to qualify as an LAE, you have to be an apprentice at SIAEC.

Initially, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering, jointly offered by SIT and the University of Glasgow, as I wanted to be in the aviation industry.

So, you actually made the big decision to switch courses and it was for the better?

Indeed. When I was going into my second year in the Aerospace Engineering programme, SIT launched the three-year Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Aircraft Systems Engineering (ASE). I spoke to my professors about it, and made the bold decision to switch to ASE.

The SIT ASE programme offered the ideal path towards becoming an LAE. Typically, you would require 12 years to become an LAE if you pursue a degree with one of the AUs. But at SIT, you achieve this in 8.5 years, because of how the degree programme is structured.

Amelia Tan

Amelia Tan

You are now thriving in the environment, evident from your SIT Mid-Term Scholarship and SIAEC Trainee Scholarship. How do you feel about being a scholar?

As a scholar, it is important to maintain a good academic standing. I use that pressure to my advantage, as it keeps me focused and disciplined, getting things done well before deadlines.

How else do you contribute to SIT as a scholar?

I am part of the Young Engineering Space (YES) programme, where I mentor students taking their GCE N-Levels. Apart from tutoring them in math and science, I have to motivate them and guide them emotionally.

"Your experience at SIT goes beyond the classroom – it is a place where knowledge is attained from learning and wisdom is gained from experience." Amelia Tan

There was this student who was very positive, despite being surrounded by classmates who were disinterested in their studies. This student was very conscientious and she wanted to build a career in the business sector. It was heart-warming and inspiring to see her working so hard towards her goal.

How has the IWSP been for you?

The IWSP experience is truly one-of-a-kind. I cleared a number of Workforce Skills Qualifications courses, such as wire locking and sheet metal bending. I also clocked in my structured on-the-job training, where I had to maintain and perform hands-on work on an aircraft. One of the most memorable experiences for me was doing an eight-wheel change on a Boeing 777.

How has the SIT-DNA shaped the way you approach your tasks?

The trait that left the most impression on me is 'Thinking Tinkerers', referring to someone who has good theoretical knowledge and is always looking to improve things and solve problems with innovative solutions.

I apply this philosophy to both my studies and work, which helped me do well academically. For example, I believe in understanding concepts rather than relying on memorising. There are many systems and millions of components on an aircraft, and you need to understand them well in order to troubleshoot maintenance errors or faults as an LAE. On top of having the ability to think logically, it is also important to think out of the box when rectifying faults.

What advice would you give to people looking to study at SIT?

SIT is Singapore's University of Applied Learning – where knowledge is attained from applied learning and wisdom is gained from experience. SIT has a vibrant student culture, offering many co-curricular activities, from sports to mentorship programmes.