Military Expert 1 Pamela Yap is an Air Force Engineer (Maintenance), 806 SQN with RAF. Her primary job is to service and maintain the S-70B Seahawk Helicopter(pictured on the right), where she puts her Diploma in Aerospace Engineering to good use maintaining its Rotor and Transmission systems.
"Where Passion Meets Profession" is a tagline that reflects Military Expert 1 (ME1) Pamela Yap's career. After completing her Diploma in Aerospace Engineering with Temasek Polytechnic, she decided to make her mark with the RSAF rather than joining the private sector. The busy Air Force Engineer (Maintenance) took some time out of her daily operations maintaining the S-70B Seahawk Helicopter to illuminate the fulfilling career journey only the RSAF can offer.
Firstly, why the military?
I've always felt a strong sense of duty to the country since I was young, and I wanted a meaningful job that allows me to be physically active and is related to aerospace engineering. Hence it seemed like a natural choice to join the RSAF as it fulfills all these requirements. Initially, I did consider looking for a job in the private aerospace sector, but after attending the various career and recruitment fairs by the RSAF and speaking to the career ambassadors, it became clear to me that I wanted a career in the Air Force.
What is RSAF like as an employer?
The RSAF has a strong team excellence culture. Whatever we do, we are always doing it as a team and for the team, with everyone looking out for one another. In addition, we are serving a higher purpose, which is the defence of Singapore. Therefore, having a common goal helps to keep everyone in the team focused on completing our mission successfully.
Could you share with us the support you got from the RSAF for your studies?
I am grateful to the RSAF for the SAF Polytechnic Sponsorship (MDES) award, as it provided me with financial stability and allowed me to focus on my studies. What's more, I can look forward to a career that I am interested in once I graduate. Hence, it's all working out well for me!
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Could you tell us about your work?
I am an Air Force Engineer (Maintenance). My primary job is to maintain the RSAF S-70B Seahawk Helicopter so that it is ready for operations all the time. My team and I look after the Rotor and Transmission system of the S-70B, where we diagnose, repair, replace, and service systems such as the drive train, transmissions (or gearboxes), and rotor blades. These systems work together to provide lift and stability for the aircraft. Working on the S-70B, I get to sail with the Singapore Institute of Technology (RSN) frigates as the helicopter supports our Navy's operations.
When I see the aircraft that I had prepared and maintained take-off and perform its mission successfully, it gives me a sense of pride and achievement that money cannot buy.
You talked about the team excellence culture earlier. Tell us more about how this helped you overcome the challenges you faced in your work.
One of the challenges that I faced when I first joined the RSAF was the steep learning curve. While I know that fresh graduates will naturally experience this, it took me some time to cope with the workload of the Squadron. I appreciate how my seniors were always there for me, guiding me through the technical aspects of the work and teaching me how to prioritise work and make effective decisions. As a result, I learnt to adapt to situations better according to work tempo.
Could you share your most significant career achievement to date, and what does it mean to you?
I am grateful to be awarded the Best Serviceman of the Year for Sembawang Airbase earlier this year. I appreciate the confidence and faith that my team, superiors, and the organisation have in me in terms of my capabilities and contributions thus far. Getting this award further boosts my morale and makes me want to contribute more in the many years to come. As the saying goes, ask not what your organisation can do for you, but what you can do for the organisation. This award reinforces this mantra.
That being said, I hope to be able to continuously contribute to the RSAF to the best of my abilities. I aspire to be a mentor to impart my knowledge and experiences to my juniors so that all of us can carry out our task confidently with strong fundamentals. And I certainly hope to strengthen this culture of team excellence and positive learning.
Congratulations! We have to ask, do similar opportunities await those joining the RSAF?
Definitely! There are many career opportunities in the RSAF. For a start, if you are studying engineering in polytechnic, the corresponding vocation of choice will be the Air Force Engineer (Maintenance) since it would require an engineering-related diploma. However, you are free to explore other vocations from the Officers, Warrant Officers, and Military Experts schemes.
Like how the SAF Polytechnic Sponsorship (MDES) has supported ME1 Pamela's studies, there are many more scholarships & sponsorships that the rsaf offers. If you're pursuing your degree, you may wish to take up the SAF Engineering Scholarship.
Lastly, what advice do you have for those considering a career with the RSAF?
In this job, you need to have a positive attitude, the determination to learn, to be able to work effectively as a team, and have a strong sense of responsibility. My advice is for all to maintain an open heart and mind when considering a career in the RSAF. There will be challenges that you need to overcome especially during operations and missions, but I can guarantee you that it will be worth the while.