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6 minute read

Career Confessions: My Age Didn’t Stop Me From Reskilling Myself

With over 15 years of working experience in engineering, then 44-year-old Shaik Mohamad didn’t see his age as a liability to reskilling. Instead, he willingly stepped up to learn a new skill to advance his career. 

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Shaik Mohamad was trained in engineering-related roles for over 15 years. Joining Singapore-born hotel chain Ascott Limited back in 2016, he first held the position of an engineering technician, in which he carried out minor repair works. But when the opportunity came for him to try something new, Shaik was quick to put his hand up to take it on.

Now, he holds the position of Facilities and Safety Supervisor, where his daily duties now include carrying out security patrol at the hotel and handling security incidents, on top of his engineering duties. As part of the company’s job redesign programme, Shaik underwent on-the-job training to take on security duties and completed three Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) certified courses to achieve a security licence.

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Sheik first heard of the chance to embark on the training experience in security from the Human Resources team back in 2021 and was excited to be a part of it. “I wanted to learn new skills in the security line,” he says about the reskilling opportunity. “[I was interested to learn about how] to secure the facility and to make it safe for our guests.” Not to mention that this promotion would allow him to command a higher salary, which could help him better support his family of six.

Facing the challenges of reskilling

While he could enjoy learning the skillsets needed for his security responsibilities, the excitement of a new role was not without some struggles. “It was a bit tough at first,” Shaik shares, citing that there was an extension of working hours. “I had to juggle both security and engineering duties, so quality time with family was lessened.”

Shaik also found it challenging to obtain a security licence. “Before joining the security line, I was in engineering, so it was different from what I did. Security is much more challenging [because of] the safety of the facility,” he muses. Thanks to on-the-job training and the three WSQ courses the company offered – the entire programme took about three months, including a week of courses – it allowed him to learn the skills he needed to manage his new responsibilities.

But Shaik admits that there were times he felt like giving up on his reskilling attempt. Thankfully, he found the strength he needed – “with the help of my family, friends and colleagues” – to carry on and pull through the more stressful periods. He recounts how his colleagues would revise with him and share their knowledge when he needed help.

At home, when he first told his wife of his reskilling intentions, she encouraged and supported him, telling him to go ahead with what he felt was suitable for him and to continue with the security courses. “When we have exams, and we have to study, she will ask the questions, and I will answer,” he recalls with a grin. “Same also for this interview!”

When asked whether he has any advice for others who, like him, are thinking about reskilling, he quips, “Just do it!” He adds that there’s nothing to lose because “you’ll gain more experience in the future”.

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