Never a dull day at work

Never a dull day at work

What you need

Entry requirements for a technician in ExxonMobil:

At least an N-levels certificate with a credit in English, Mathematics and Science

Having a polytechnic diploma or a National Institute of Technical Education certificate is an advantage

Interest in a career as a technician overrides the educational specialisation as training will be provided

Career prospects:

Trainee technicians have room to progress through the ranks and there is potential for the right candidate to eventually become a first line supervisor or shift superintendent.

He initially joined ExxonMobil for the potential to earn more money.

Mr Brandon Lee, 40, has now been an ExxonMobil technician for 14 years.

The continuous challenges, the strong team spirit, and the learning opportunities have kept him there.

Mr Lee, who is currently undergoing multi-crafts training and supervisory skill development for his role as acting first line supervisor in the unit maintenance section in ExxonMobil's Singapore Refinery, said: "The best thing about my job is that up till now, I'm still learning new things every day. That keeps me excited."

He joined ExxonMobil - which operates the world's largest refinery and a world-scale chemical plant in Singapore - as a technician after graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic with a manufacturing engineering diploma.

He also has a National ITE Certificate (Nitec) in precision tooling and a craftsman certificate that is recognised in Germany.

He said: "I like to work in the field and I enjoy the fast pace of work."

Mr Lee said his seniors were willing to share their knowledge and experience, and provided him with the necessary guidance.

In his third year with the company, Mr Lee had reached the watershed point in his career.

He was put into a team to plan a revamp of a unit.

He said: "It took about six months to plan, and two months to execute. It was very challenging."

But it was through that project that he knew more about the plant and the industry, and he also worked with people from other parts of the company.

He said: "That was a turning point for me. My career path in the company became clear to me from then on."

Filled with fresh resolve, Mr Lee took the initiative to upgrade his skills through certificate courses to qualify as a first grade steam engineer.

He also attended a part-time Workplace Safety and Health training course held over a year for safety officers.

The fees for these courses were fully sponsored by the company.

He then undertook a part-time degree programme with a private college here and earned a first class honours in mechanical engineering from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University last year.

Mr Lee, who is married, said of his new role as an acting first line supervisor: "It is very different from my previous position as a senior technician, but I continue to learn new things. What I do now is broader than what I did before and I'm enjoying it."

Worklife Balance

Besides his work at the refinery, Mr Lee has been a key member of ExxonMobil's dragon boating team since 2006.

His team trains regularly, sometimes twice weekly, before key races and they represent the company in annual events such as the Jurong Island Dragon Boat Race, the Singapore Dragon Boat Festival, as well as special events like the 2012 DBS Marina Regatta.

He said: "Dragon boating is a sport that needs everyone in the boat to do their part. This is also how we work at the plant.

"I like being part of such teams."

When asked to name a highlight of his work at the refinery, Mr Lee, who enjoys being outdoors, said that besides being able to work outdoors, he likes "the view" he gets when he sometimes climbs up the tall towers or stacks to service the valves.

He said: "Not only do I see the sand and the sea, but also some beautiful sunsets from up there."

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