From nursing and aerospace to the culinary world, these five industry veterans have been setting benchmarks for excellence and championing lifelong learning in their areas of expertise way before the concept even became a catchphrase.
Now that Singapore is on full rollout for SkillsFuture, it is timely that IAL is recognising their contributions to Training and Adult Education (TAE) in their fields by awarding them the most prestigious title – the Adult Education Fellow (AEF) in the Adult Education Professionalisation initiative.
Announced during IAL’s fifth graduation ceremony, the AEF title was conferred upon Professor Annie Koh, Professor of Finance (Practice), Singapore Management University, Professor Christopher Chia, NUS Business School, Chef Eric Teo, Master Mentor, Asian Culinary Institute, Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia, Senior Director, SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Learning, and Professor Lim Yeow Khee, President, Singapore Institute of Aerospace Engineers.
While the pioneer AEFs came from different industries, they have in common a passion for systematically raising the quality of practice and continuous upgrading in their fields. This remarkable passion to impart knowledge was born of their personal values as well as their experiences in work.
“Many of us may not realise it, but we are very much inspired by our early teachers, who do not just give information and knowledge, but were also role models in terms of values and principles,” shares Professor Annie Koh. “I remember one of the best trainers in my first career at DBS. He had no first degree, nor formal training. But he was from ‘the university of life’, had learnt on the job, and was passionate about transferring the knowledge. When he was promoted, I started passing on to my colleagues the knowledge I gained from him and from the job. That was when I realised I liked teaching and I have a knack for it.”
For Chef Eric Teo, the lack of such mentors in his industry was what inspired him to teach. He says, “There was a time when I needed help from more experienced veterans, but there wasn’t anyone who was really passionate to make sure people like me succeed. Our training was on the job, but what we needed was someone to hold our hands, and make sure that we could fly and pass on the skills and knowledge to the next generation. This way, the next generation could innovate and strengthen the industry. So we should be generous, kind, and share our expertise with others.”
Through the award, IAL not only recognises these veterans at the peak of their careers, but has also created an important platform for the inaugural AEFs to contribute and shape TAE practice in Singapore.
Professor Lim Yeow Khee shares his enthusiasm, “There is a realisation that skills and knowledge gets outdated very fast. As such, I really feel that AEF is a really good move to nurture and inspire the next generation of trainers. I’ve been in the aerospace industry for 49 years and I’ve always worried about continuous learning. In this industry, technology moves very fast and you get outdated without knowing. Today, there is also the risk of information overload. So delivering knowledge is no longer our primary aim in aerospace. Motivating the younger generation to build a culture of continuous learning and discerning what to learn is more important.”
As AEFs, they serve as mentors and role models beyond their areas of practice to inspire and nurture TAE professionals. Through the sharing of their expertise and experiences, they shape TAE practice in Singapore and catalyse innovation as well. With their network and standing, they are also able to advocate collaboration at the industry, national and even international levels to further strengthen the TAE landscape.
Chef Teo points out, “When we carry the title, we will have to do more than what we are doing now. Even though we are from different trades, we share similar visions in training our people. So although I’m hearing from someone in finance or another sector, I am sure I can get a lot out of the talk. At the same time, I can share my vision and experiences with people from other industries.”
Similarly, Associate Professor Lim Swee Hia sees the initiative as going beyond her career in nursing and education. A nurse since she was 17 years old, Associate Professsor Lim shares, “I wish to see more nurses become nurse educators who will nurture the next generation of nurses. It is important to spread this culture of learning in our workforce, especially among the more senior nursing professionals who will in turn be role models to the younger ones. This initiative will also enhance Singapore’s training and education landscape by improving the credibility and skills of adult educators in Singapore, which in turn translates to better trained workers ready to face the challenges of this increasingly digital age.”
“The AEF award is useful because it sets a common baseline for the industry to allow practitioners to measure relative values and requirements. Moreover, society is much more prepared today to participate in lifelong learning. With the presence of SkillsFuture Singapore and IAL, we also have the mechanisms in place to enhance and facilitate the process.”Professor Christopher Chia, inaugural AEF, known for his role in transforming Singapore’s public libraries through innovation
To learn more about the Adult Education Fellows, please click here
Under the national AEP initiative, the AEF is accorded to exemplary Adult Education professionals who are at the pinnacle of their practices, and have made significant contributions in the relevant TAE fields. They are industry veterans who set the benchmark of quality and excellence, and serve as a role model and inspiration to the TAE community.
Find out more about AEF here.