Chef Heman Tan, employability ambassador and industry mentor with Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), shares how he takes charge of his own career journey.
“From defeat to victory—that is how some people have described me. I was fortunate to have met the ‘grandfather’ of Singapore sculpture Dr Ng Eng Teng, whom I picked up ceramics skills. More than that, he also taught me about life. “Whichever you choose or wherever you go is not important, what’s important is that you do a proper job.” Those where Dr Ng’s advice to me. “To do a proper job”—his words made me who I am today.
Dr Ng has been a mentor and spiritual father to me. Through him, I learnt that the journey is as important as the destination, and I hope to be an inspiration to others through my role as a chef, ceramic artist and most recently, Employability Ambassador and Industry Mentor with e2i.
Despite being in the F&B industry for more than 28 years, I still have more to learn. Learning never stops. My recent journey with Iron Supper Club expanded my role from culinary to business decisions and strategies such as pricing and marketing. I knew that the learning curve is steep, but I believe in giving my best shot. With some support through e2i’s Place and Train, a structured training programme for new local hires, I was able to transit into my new career smoothly.
The need to stay ahead and take charge of our own career journey is especially important in the current fast changing and digitized landscape. One way to stay ahead is through learning from support groups and experienced professionals who mentor and share their life experiences.
Through e2i’s U Career Network, employability ambassadors and industry mentors like myself provide industry tips to help more workers in enhancing their employment and employability skills.
One example is the South West SkillsFuture Advice & Career Roadshow @ Ayer Rajah organised and supported by Southwest CDC and e2i. I was invited to share my experiences and career journey. I also received information on key work trends and skills required for the workplace, the jobs and training portals available, and a peak into the skills needed in the future workplace through the SkillsFuture Advice workshop at an exclusive session to train volunteers like myself. This marks my official first step in being an employability ambassador and industry mentor, where I am more confident to share not just my industry knowledge, but also career guidance resources.
To be prepared for the future economy, I recently attended the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace workshop, which aims to help Singaporeans be future-ready by sharing emerging technologies and their impact. This course has prompted me to think about how to leverage on technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics in my work. To me, the fundamentals of being future-ready is about having the right mindset to welcome and change with the future environment.
The role of industry mentor and employability ambassador with e2i fits into my personal belief in 传承 (chuan cheng), which means passing on my skills and preserving our local heritage. Through the collaboration with e2i in various initiatives such as master classes and mentoring sessions, I hope that more Singaporeans can benefit from my experiences and knowledge. Above all, I hope to inspire them by sharing my life and career journey.”
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This post was made in partnership with e2i.