TUM Asia offers a wide selection of Executive Education courses. One of our offerings is our Specialist Diploma in Advanced Digital Manufacturing, taught under the direct guidance of German industry experts, which equips participants with relevant Industry 4.0 knowledge and skills as well as hands-on experience with Industry 4.0 training equipment to prepare them for more complex job roles to meet new technological challenges in the Advanced Manufacturing Industry. We interviewed a participant of the programme, Danny Ker, and asked him about his experience. Let’s hear more from him.
Hi Danny! Do share with us about the company you work in and your current role and responsibilities.
My company is TÜV SÜD PSB Pte Ltd. A recognised testing body, TÜV SÜD PSB is a service provider for a comprehensive and integrated suite of product testing, inspection and certification services. Its test reports and product certification marks are well accepted by manufacturers, third-party buyers and government authorities worldwide. There are more than 500 employees in my organisation. Over at TÜV SÜD PSB Pte Ltd, I am the Vice President for Quality Management. I manage and oversee all the ASEAN branches for quality control, quality assurance and regulatory compliance. I also provide quality oversight for all testing, inspection, certification and auditing activities in line with our corporate laboratory, quality and safety management systems and in compliance to applicable international and local regulatory and statutory guidelines. In addition, I also oversee development, improvement and implementation of laboratory, quality and safety improvement plans and drive continuous monitoring and process improvements for ASEAN countries. I manage six staff at the Singapore office and five staff across ASEAN. I strive to achieve customer satisfaction, compliance and legal standards, and certification in my work.
How do you see TUM Asia’s Specialist Diploma helping you achieve your career aspirations?
The decision to take up TUM Asia’s Specialist Diploma came about at a time when I wished to expand my expertise and continue learning to enhance my knowledge and keep pace with the changing business environment, so as to stay ahead of the changing landscape, notwithstanding the fact that I am 62 years old.
Furthermore, the Singapore government is moving towards realising its vision of a Smart Nation by integrating technology into the management of infrastructure and industries. In this regard, TUM Asia’s Specialist Diploma can help me to achieve my aspirations. Through capitalising on what I have learnt from various professors and applying the knowledge I have gained, I can implement these emerging technologies and arrive at new solutions to support the industries I manage.
What motivated you to continue with your learning journey even though you are already successful in your career?
My motivation has always been to pursue lifelong learning to keep myself relevant to market needs and add value to the industries in ASEAN. Many people may feel that holding the Vice President position represents a successful career. In my view, I don’t consider myself having reached the peak of a successful career. Instead, my career development strategy is based on the target I set out to achieve in the early stages of my career planning - specifically in 1978 – that is to attain one to two professional certificates per year and to acquire incremental knowledge.
At which point in your career did you decide to do that?
I started my first job when I completed National Service in 1979. I realised that many of my servicemates landed well-paying jobs because they had either diploma or degree certificates, which enabled them to find a job easily or switch jobs without difficulty. For me, I hailed from a poor family and did not have the luxury to further my studies. This situation motivated me to work in the day and study in the evening then. Even till today, I continue to strive to keep on learning. My commitment to lifelong learning has driven me to acquire more than 58 professional certificates to date.
Besides TUM Asia’s Specialist Diploma course, what other options are you considering?
Currently, I am considering taking a course on Python programming for high-level programming language to develop desktop graphical user interface (GUI) applications, websites and web applications for machine learning. This will complement the Industry 4.0 revolution and Singapore’s journey towards a Smart Nation nicely.
What triggered you to start looking for a programme like the one offered at TUM Asia?
TUM is amongst the most prestigious and best universities in Europe, and perhaps in the world too. Furthermore, the Industry 4.0 initiative was pioneered in Germany. German Engineering is recognised for its quality, excellence and assurance worldwide. Initially, I wanted to propose to my management to sponsor my study leave for a couple of years in Germany. However, after browsing TUM Asia’s website, I came across information about TUM Asia’s Specialist Diploma and made the decision to sign up for it.
What has been the greatest benefit you have received from the programme since graduation?
Some of the greatest benefits I received from the programme was that I have gained a clearer understanding of the application and implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts in industries, which complements my experience and background on excellence in business management. I have also gained knowledge on how to support industries and SMEs on how to move towards digitalisation to further improve their productivity and efficiency.
As Singapore continues to adopt Industry 4.0, what are some exciting things that the industry can expect?
Some of the exciting things we can expect in the near future is how machine learning can enable learning, reasoning and decision-making outside of human interaction. Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence that can help people and businesses achieve key goals, drive critical decision-making, and create new and innovative products and services for customers. Both machine learning and artificial intelligence complement Industry 4.0 initiatives. It is indeed going to be interesting to see how the future pans out with these technological breakthroughs.