Shahril Sulaiman

Shahril had extensive working experience in several MNCs in the oil industry. He was commuting between different countries for work but soon found himself displaced and struggling to find a new job when the industry contracted during the pandemic. He decided to return to learning through his wife’s encouragement, which has helped him open new doors of opportunity.

20 Jul 2022

Please tell us briefly about yourself and the job you do in your current company?

For over 27 years, I worked in the oil and gas industry where I held different engineering and managerial positions, ranging from operations to quality management to information technology. Since the pandemic, I managed to land a new role as a product owner, where I wear different hats and take on new responsibilities to prioritise my team’s performance, in addition to streamlining development processes.
Why did you decide to return to learning? Can you tell us more about your experience and how it’s helped transformed your career?  

Coming from an oil and gas background, there are not many relevant job opportunities in Singapore, and I found it challenging to find a job. My wife had encouraged me to return to learning, and that was when I came across SIM’s SGUnited Skills Advanced Manufacturing programme. The courses were interesting, and I was ready to pick up new skills and venture into a new field of work.
The instructors gave very practical approaches, which were very much in tune with the industry’s needs. My course mates were also from very varied backgrounds, which made it a conducive learning environment, as it allowed learning to happen at many different levels. There were many good ideas that we picked up from discussions and friendly debates in class. The knowledge I picked up from Scrum and Agile courses is directly applicable to my current job, and I can guide my current team better with it.
Tell us how you define ‘lifelong learning’ and why is it important to you?

‘Lifelong learning’ is having an attitude towards trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zones. It is inevitable that we have to learn new things along the way, and it gives us the opportunity to go back to university days and be that young person to learn new things again. It is important because it helps to break down barriers which we once thought were rigid. I was able to apply what I learned in the SGUS programme in my current job.
What is one valuable life lesson you have learned that you would like to share with others?

You have to allow yourself to enjoy learning. It may feel unnatural at first so you must press on and mentally remind yourself: “where can this learning lead me”. At first, connecting the dots was tedious but soon the eureka moments started coming. That is one reward of lifelong learning – finding opportunities in possibilities.

Posted online 20 Jul 2022.