Having been in the electrical equipment industry for more than 36 years, United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries Executive Council Member and Yokogawa Branch Chairman Wang Mui Sin, 55, believes strongly in lifelong learning in order to keep up with advancements in technology.
“The only way we can move forward is to constantly upgrade ourselves. It may not be only through courses, but on-the-job training as well,” she said.
Ms Wang first started out as a machine operator in 1980 with Yokogawa. After four years there, she jumped at the opportunity to switch departments.
“My upgrading journey has mostly been through on-the-job training. This was ever since I started as a machine operator. I was doing moulding then. It was a very hands-on job and many have said that it’s more suited for men. When there was an opening in the store department, I made the switch because I wanted to try something new,” said Ms Wang.
Despite having no previous experience, she managed to do well in her new role and was selected to help set up a new store at Yokogawa’s Batam plant in 1997. While in Batam, she also took it upon herself to pick up simple Bahasa Indonesia to help her communicate better with the Indonesian workers.
Keeping Up with Technology
It was when she moved to the IT Systems department years later that Ms Wang became more determined to upgrade herself in order to keep up.
“Technology changes really quickly in my industry, and Yokogawa constantly upgrades its systems every few years. It was very manual decades ago, but now we have the help of automation and computer systems. Technology is helpful, but only if we are open to learning how it can make our jobs easier,” she said.
Today, she has taken on the role of a production planner, where she helps to keep manufacturing schedules in check.
“Now that I am a planner in production control, I deal a lot with computers and data. Even though it is not easy, I try my best. Even if I fail, I try and try again. Previously, there were times when I found things challenging. Everything was quite confusing for me at first but I took it slowly and day by day, with the help of my colleagues and seniors, I got better,” she said.
As she came from a Chinese school, Ms Wang is more comfortable speaking and learning in Mandarin than English. However, that has not stopped her from learning new things.
Taking this hurdle within her stride, she keeps a notebook that contains the things she has learnt, which she translates from English to Mandarin for easy reference.
Concern for Workers’ Future
As a union leader, Ms Wang hopes that more of the workers in her branch continue to upgrade themselves, given the disruption her industry is currently facing. As advice for members in her branch, she said that they should believe in themselves and they should not be afraid to learn new things.
“When there is an opportunity to move to other departments to learn and gain more experience, go for it. I do hope more members upgrade themselves as well. The company does give a lot of opportunities to upgrade so, seize the opportunity,” she said.