EVERY week, Madam Dorothy Han works five days at Keppel Fels' shipyard in Gul Road, and spends three nights studying in a classroom at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

It is not easy for the mother of two teenagers - a 16-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son - but she is glad the company is willing to give her the opportunity to upgrade her skills. The 44-year-old is taking a part-time diploma course in engineering (marine, offshore technology). She joined Keppel Fels in 1989 as a trainee draughtsman, after completing an Industrial Technician Certificate in mechanical and electrical drafting and design at the former Singapore Technical Institute.

She left the company in the early 1990s to work as a contract draughtsman, before returningin 2004 as an engineer. She worked her way up, and is now a section manager in the engineering department, overseeing more than 60 people. Her speciality is in piping systems, which involves her team of engineers, draughtsmen and designers working on projects such as marine and drilling systems.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong asked her how she felt about being in a male-dominated industry. She said: "We are equal... if you can prove your capability."

Mr Lee also highlighted how Madam Han quoted a Chinese proverb to him on how "in every profession, there is a top master".

As for Madam Han, she had this to say about her employer: "I'm glad Keppel has a suppor-tive management that looks at how we excel at our job."