After 10 years in the army and a few years in the oil and gas industry, Mr Khoo Weng Cheong, then 35, was at a loss.
His company had decided to stop production in biodiesel, which he was trained in, and reassigned him to a role he did not like.
So Mr Khoo moved into the security industry.
"Not many people are used to workers of that age. They are looking for young workers," he said.
Yet, in a little over two years with PPC Security Services, Mr Khoo has flourished.
From a security officer, he rose to be an operations executive. Today, he manages the deployment of the firm's nearly 130 officers.
"When I joined the firm, I didn't think I'd go so far. At that point, it was just a job to feed my family," said Mr Khoo, who is married and has four children aged seven months to 11 years old.
His first posting, in September 2011, was as a security officer at a condominium.
When his supervisor was located to another site, the firm sent him for a supervisory course.
From there, his interest in the industry was piqued, Mr Khoo said.
"There are many different types of security services - in the aviation, marine lines for example.
"Security isn't just about guarding a condominium. There are also other aspects of security, like (protection services) and security risks assessments."
With his firm's blessing, Mr Khoo went on to take the other modules, obtaining a Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Advanced Certificate in Security Supervision in July 2012.
He was also promoted to the role of payroll officer. Last year, after completing a WSQ Diploma in Security Management, he was promoted to operations executive, second in line to the operations manager.
He now takes home $2,500, up from the $1,500 he was paid when he first started.
Mr Khoo is also taking a WSQ Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment, which will let him teach and give back to the industry, he said.
This article was published on April 26 in The New Paper.
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