Teo Ser Lin

Assistant Manager, Commercial, Middle East and Asia Pacific, Swire Seabed 

“As a Management Trainee, I really enjoy working in SPO as we are always given opportunities to challenge ourselves and try our best, yet there is room to make mistakes and learn from them.”

Why did you choose to join SPO’s Management Trainee programme?

I first joined SPO as an intern in 2015. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work with the senior management team, including the Head of Business Improvement, General Manager of Sustainable Development and the Marine Services Director. Though I did not have much work experience, my colleagues and reporting managers were very encouraging and helpful. They were keen to hear my perspective and gave me interesting assignments to work on. The openness of the staff and the learning culture of the company were especially enriching for me.

SPO has quite a “flat” work hierarchy, which allowed for easier communication with the management and better engagement in projects. The diverse mix of nationalities of the employees and the global nature of the company make the working environment interesting and dynamic.

I’ve always been interested in the maritime industry but was unsure of the role that I wanted to pursue. This two-year MT programme, which includes job rotations to various departments, provided me the time and exposure to learn where my strengths lie and the type of work that I enjoy.

Can you recall some memorable moments at work?

The highlight is certainly my six-month work stint in Bergen, Norway. Working overseas was an incredible learning experience as I saw myself grow both personally and professionally. It brought out a different side of me that I never knew, it being my first time living alone abroad. The holistic experience is a rare opportunity that I really appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.

Other memorable work experiences would definitely be my visits on board our vessels, including a tour of one of our windfarm installation vessels, Pacific Orca and a subsea construction vessel, Seabed Constructor. The most interesting work experience would be my two weeks’ stay on board SPO’s Platform Supply Vessels, Pacific Liberty and Pacific Legacy, which sailed from Ranong, Thailand to a drillship in offshore Myanmar and back.

Though I was apprehensive at first, the seafarers were all so welcoming and made sure that I felt at ease whilst on board. I was able to try my hand at vessel maintenance work and also baked some pastries in the galley for the crew on board.

Ser Lin donning the full protection gear during a fire drill exercise on board Pacific Liberty, much to the amusement of Second Officer, Olive Wingfield. 

Ser Lin enjoying some leisure time with her fellow crew members on the deck on board the vessel.

Ser Lin trying her hands at baking pastries under the guidance of our able Cooks on board during her vessel trip as part of her Management Trainee rotation programme. 

I feel that it is important that we get to experience what life is on board as it is a stark contrast to working in an office environment. With this first-hand experience being out at sea, I’m able to understand and appreciate the challenges that our seafarers face even more. The experience on board definitely helped me in every aspect of work, no matter which department I was rotated to, as I am able to put myself in the shoes of our seafarers and understand how the work we do in the office would impact them better.

Why do you like working in SPO?

I like the challenges that my work offers, the steep learning curve at times, having the ability to get involved in different and new projects and working with the senior management team directly. These varied work experiences offered great learning experiences and personal development. There are always opportunities for me to be creative and contribute ideas though I may not necessarily have the background or relevant training.

The work in SPO gives me the chance to travel and meet people from diverse nationalities and backgrounds and this makes work more interesting. We interact with both shore-based people and our seafarers. Often, the interaction with these experienced and passionate employees motivates and inspires me when they share their wealth of knowledge in the company.