Make the Switch Into Your Dream Job, Even at 48

When it comes to pursuing the job you always wanted, age is just a number. 

A few years back, a German Chemical-Pharmaceutical company offered Mr Wilem Tan a role as regional sales manager. Wanting to spend more time with his adolescent children, Mr Tan eventually left that role after 8 months to join a local company as Head of Supply where there was limited overseas exposure. Now that his children have grown up, Mr Tan, 48, is pursuing his career ambition as the Global Professional Channel Manager at Corlison Pte Ltd, one of the largest Singaporean owned distributors of personal/healthcare and home cleaning products, where he sources for new business leads that will help Corlison capture new markets and grow its sales revenue.

While this trade is not new to him, the pursuit of regional opportunities to grow Corlison’s professional channels overseas proved a challenging avenue for Mr Tan. He felt that understanding the regulatory processes to get Corlison’s products registered and distributed in overseas markets were complicated given each country’s unique regulatory landscape. 

To assist Mr Tan in overcoming the difficulties in his new role, Andy Ong, Corlison’s Managing Director, encouraged him to participate in the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for International Trading Executives (Non-Commodities Track).  Workforce Singapore (WSG) provides funding support for PCP, career conversion programmes to move PMETs (Professionals, Manager, Executives and Technicians) into new occupations with good prospects and opportunities for progression.

As part of the 12-month course conducted by Singapore Management University (SMU), he was provided with the basic foundation in wholesale trade such as fundamentals of supply chain management and export documentation. In particular, one of the modules taught, Customs Competency and Trade Compliance really helped to address the lack of exposure Mr Tan has in this field. The course also sheds light on the different overseas market cultures and work styles and builds up relevant competencies in regulatory landscapes and risk management. Despite his age and gaps in knowledge, through PCP, he was able to improve his professional capabilities and pursue the job he always wanted.

His time spent in PCP soon paid off. Buoyed by his past experience and having undergone PCP, Mr Tan is able to apply himself better in his role and is confident addressing queries from buyers or negotiating with overseas stakeholders. Since then, Mr Tan has traveled to Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Dubai and appointed many partners to distribute Corlison’s products. Mr Tan now hopes to help Corlison grow its regional business by venturing into the Central Asia market.

Currently, WSG has over 100 PCPs across more than 30 sectors, each specific to the jobs with their own customised curriculum to assist career switchers into new occupations and roles. 

*Funding caps may apply, support also dependent on the candidate.

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