ENGINEERS make up a small group but they play a big role in transforming Singapore from "the Third World to the First World", the president of the Professional Engineers Board, Mr Lau Joo Ming, said yesterday.


As he showed images of Singapore past and present to 300 professional engineers and guests, Mr Lau said engineering remains a proud profession today.

He was speaking at the board's sixth annual Day of Dedication for professional engineers.

It was held in the Flower Dome's Jubilee Hall at Gardens by the Bay - another engineering marvel in which local engineers had a hand, he pointed out.

At the event, 72 new professional engineers received their registration certificates. Their journey included two examinations, one of which requires four years of industry experience, and an interview.

Such professionals can submit proposals to the authorities and use the honorific title "Er", similar to the "Dr" used by their medical counterparts.

"It's a milestone," said structural engineer Titus Tay, 37, one of the new professionals.

Affirming their importance, guest of honour Tan Chuan-Jin, Senior Minister of State for National Development, said the profession "is not just about building physical structures".

"You build (them) to create space for people: a place for people to live, to work, to play," said Mr Tan, who is also Acting Manpower Minister.

Yet Singapore faces a shortage of engineers, he noted. They are among the top 10 occupations with the most vacancies going unfilled for at least six months, according to a Manpower Ministry study published in January.

The Government and industry are thus working to promote, develop and recognise the profession, he added.

For instance, a committee of representatives from industry and institutes of higher learning has commissioned surveys of perceptions of the built environment industry, which covers everything from housing to parks. The findings will help decide the committee's plans to rebrand the industry to attract more Singaporeans.