Walking Down the Green Path with NEA

Fascinated by how engineering plays a part in shaping Singapore’s green plans, Singapore Sustainability Scholar Albert Chieng decided to pursue an exciting engineering career with the National Environment Agency (NEA) and contribute to the sustainable growth of the garden city’s built environment.

Seizing the Opportunity

Growing up surrounded by Singapore’s clean and ever-changing cityscape and believing that engineering can transform our country’s green future, I developed a strong passion for contributing to the sustainable growth of our built environment.

The Singapore Sustainability Scholarship provided me with an excellent opportunity to be part of the community dedicated to fostering environmental stewardship. I started my NEA career working on the Phase 1 development of the Tuas Nexus Integrated Waste Management Facility (IWMF) — Singapore’s first integrated waste management facility that is capable of handling multiple waste streams.

More Than a Walk in the Park

Developing the IWMF brings with it a unique blend of responsibilities, and its sheer scale comes with many challenges. Coordinating among different stakeholder is one of them, as everyone has unique perspectives and priorities. The development of Phase 1 also commenced during the COVID-19 pandemic. I had to navigate the challenging construction landscape and facilitate the completion of IWMF’s civil and structural designs in a timely manner.

While there were other engineering and construction challenges we faced during the facility’s development, the experience gained in overcoming them has been pivotal in honing my skills in engineering, project management, stakeholder engagement, critical thinking, and effective communication.

Today, I am part of the team planning for IWMF Phase 2. I am also privileged to be involved in the Keppel Seghers-NEA joint feasibility study on carbon capture technology at our waste-to-energy facilities, so as to achieve Singapore’s ambitious net zero emissions target by 2050.

Working with the Like-Minded Team at NEA

NEA has a vibrant work culture, where each officer shares a common dedication to environmental excellence. NEA also fosters a collaborative work environment, and the open-mindedness and encouragement of creativity in NEA constantly motivates me to explore innovative ideas in tackling environmental challenges.

In addition, as a fresh graduate then, I was heartened to experience a culture where mentorship is not sacrificed despite the heavy workload. The support and guidance I received have been instrumental in helping me navigate the complexities of the sustainability landscape. Every challenge I faced is turned into a valuable learning opportunity.

Making a Difference

In the coming five years, I see myself working on upcoming environmental projects, contributing innovative solutionsto achieve Singapore’s long-term vision of zero waste and a circular economy. With NEA’s nurturing work culture, I am confident that I will see NEA as the cornerstone of my success when I look back. It is a place where passion meets purpose and dreams evolve into reality.

NEA plays a crucial role in safeguarding Singapore’s environment and public health. Aspiring scholars can look forward to working in a collaborative environment and contributing to meaningful projects and initiatives that will impact Singapore’s future.

Singapore Sustainability Scholarship (NEA)
Master of Science (Civil Engineering), National University of Singapore
Now: Senior Engineer, NEA