Published on 19 Mar 2022
Video games have been a big part of Sean’s life since the tender age of 6, starting from when he first picked up his sister’s game console. For as long as he can remember, he has loved the adrenaline rush of competing against other online players. But as most roads to starting a career begin with an internship, Sean met our Facilities Management team as an Engineering student ready to take on new challenges at work. Meet NTUC Health intern and four-time e-sports champion from Singapore, 22-year old Sean Wong.
Keen to make a good first impression, Sean eagerly took up his maiden project on redesigning a motorised wheelchair rack for more efficient use of storage space at NTUC Health’s Day Centres for Seniors, despite not having any experience with such equipment. “I was quite scared that I would not be able to get the job done. I had never even pushed a wheelchair before!” described Sean anxiously.
Despite his fears, it was a challenge that Sean met with enthusiasm. As he researched how to improve the design, he also took to digital tools to communicate those ideas during work from home arrangements. “One of my modules in school was Product Design and Prototyping. Having those skills really helped me illustrate my concepts for the team and vendors,” he said. With a design in mind, the team was able to come up with a wheelchair rack that was space-saving and efficient.
When it came to giving presentations, a skill that was new to him, Sean was initially so worried about how he would fare that he sought divine intervention. On the day before a meeting with the Facilities Management team where he had to present what he accomplished, he asked his mother if he could follow her to church. “I raised my hand after service to ask for a prayer of guidance and help,” Sean admitted.
With his prayers answered, Sean found the insight to pick up on the importance of developing his confidence and communication skills. “I learnt through this internship that practicing before presentations is important. Whenever I worked on presenting my projects to the team, I would read my sentences over and over again to make sure that my key message was communicated,” he said.
Despite his spunky, can-do attitude, Sean’s courage to get out there and speak up did not come naturally to him in the beginning. “I was not assertive in the past and I would be taken advantage of,” said Sean as he shared an incident that happened to him as a secondary school student working at a warehouse. After every hard day’s work of wrapping hampers for Chinese New Year, he looked forward to cash payouts before going home. One day, the business owner had a bad day and forgot to pay Sean his daily wages. Afraid to speak up for himself, Sean worked for free that day.
“I wanted to build up my courage as I felt that I was not getting anywhere at that point of time,” said Sean. This led him to seek out opportunities to be in the right environment, and speaking up for himself.
This keenness to adapt also helped Sean through projects that he had no prior experience with. When tasked to create instructional self-help videos for guiding fellow staff with repairs at the day centres, Sean looked for free video editing resources from Youtube. “I am limited in equipment, but I try to do the best with what I have,” he said. As a connoisseur of movies and videos with good quality, he also expected the same from his own work at NTUC Health.
“He elevated our work to another level when he was with us. Even if he didn’t have experience with the work, he gladly accepted the challenge and did a good job with it,” said Facilities Management Associate Ms Joanna Carbonilla.
During his time with NTUC Health, Sean also reflected on a new-found respect for frontliners and staff in the elderly care sector. One incident that left a lasting impression on Sean was when he witnessed an elderly man who was upset and spat multiple times on a Centre Manager, who calmly wiped her face each time and continued talking to him gently. “The staff was very patient and didn’t show signs of anger or stress. It was complete care and compassion for the elderly, despite the tense situation. I had a lot to learn from that,” he said.
In return for these lessons, Sean found opportunities for growth through the many challenges presented to him during his internship. “I’ve come to understand a different work culture and picked up soft skills like how to introduce myself to colleagues, as well as building good relationships with others in the organisation. I’ve learnt to keep improvising. Who knows, maybe I’ll work as a part time video editor!”
When asked about what he looks forward to as the next step in his career, Sean remains flexible to the myriad of possibilities that his internship experience has opened up for him. In the same vein, Sean jokes, “I don’t even know what I’m going to have for lunch. After this, it’s National Service for me!”
“The toughest part of the job is not the work itself, but understanding the problem. You need to be proactive, ask questions and expect the unexpected.”
Interested in a fulfilling career in the health and eldercare industry? Find out more at our careers page!
Inspired by his mother who is a professional counsellor, Tern Hao Xin derives great joy from supporting the needs of vulnerable seniors. Find out more about being a Care Associate from Hao Xin!
Cherlyn Lim joined NTUC Health Nursing Home's (Chai Chee) Programme and Community Partnership team in 2018. Despite facing personal challenges, she continued to plan engaging activities for our Nursing Home residents. Read her story here!
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