City Square Mall and Tampines Grande have a special place in Ms Qian Xue Jia’s heart because the assistant manager at City Developments Limited (CDL) was involved in the project conceptualisation and completion of these landmark buildings.
The 28-year-old, who joined CDL four years ago, is in the project division responsible for property development and project management. CDL is one of Singapore’s largest real estate developers and landlords.
Her job scope encompasses various stages in project development from design development to procurement and construction.
Regular meetings with consultants, designers and contractors are par for the course. She also attends site meetings to monitor construction progress and resolve any site issues.
Ms Qian gets an adrenaline rush from being exposed to different disciplines, managing a host of development projects and acquiring new knowledge in the process, which keep her motivated.
“As consultants and builders have different levels of service quality and attitudes, it is not easy managing projects.
“Beyond knowledge and time management, good interpersonal skills are also necessary to excel in project management,” she says.
As she did not have any professional training in architecture, the electrical and electronic engineering graduate from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) had to familiarise herself with architectural design and material selection in the early part of her career in project management.
Her colleagues — industry veterans who are well-trained in different disciplines — are generous with their help and guidance whenever she needs it.
CDL’s project division offers a broad overview of the property development and project management process, and provides an excellent learning and training ground, says Ms Qian.
“I enjoy the new challenges posed by each project, which provide me with learning opportunities. Each project site is unique with its own set of challenges in the design, planning and development stages,” she says.
Ms Qian is also a former Building and Construction Authority (BCA)-CDL undergraduate scholar. “I was interested in real estate and it was definitely a privilege to be selected by a well-established property developer like CDL for the scholarship.”
Her scholarship — a partnership between BCA and leading industry players — offers young talented individuals the opportunities to launch careers in the built environment.
It targets undergraduates from NTU, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Singapore University of Technology and Design to train them to become future leaders of the industry.
It is part of the national productivity drive by BCA under its Construction Productivity Roadmap to attract more young talents to join the industry.
BCA has enhanced the scholarship programme since 2010 by raising the minimum scholarship amount to $14,000 per year (an increase over the earlier $10,000) for each local scholar.
This has helped to attract a record number of scholarship applicants and raised the number of scholarships awarded this year.
Riding on the success of the undergraduate scholarship, BCA has recently launched new manpower development initiatives — the Diploma Scholarship/Sponsorship and Apprenticeship programmes — to build up a pipeline of talents at all levels.
Incidentally, her father also works in the property industry and her family has given her full support.
"They believe that I will have good career prospects in this industry. In addition, CDL is a well-established property developer in Singapore,” says Ms Qian, who is currently pursuing a Master of Science (Environmental Management) at NUS on a part-time basis.
There are ample career opportunities with climate change presenting both challenges and opportunities in the building sector.
She says career opportunities in environmentally sustainable design consulting are opening up to cater to the growth in green building design.