Mid-Career Switch Made Easier
Words by Janelle Ting

Zhang Weilin shares his journey on why and how he transited from a technician to an engineer.

Reasons for Career Switch 

Exploring a new job or industry may sound daunting to some. However, Zhang Weilin, 52, recognises the importance of constantly reviewing and updating his skillsets. To stay relevant in today’s rapidly-changing landscape, he needs to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn. This learner’s mindset motivates him in his career switch.


Weilin’s family and friends are also supportive of his decision. They see it as an opportunity for career advancement. Exploring a new industry with good prospects and acquiring future skills such as robotics and automation would make Weilin a more valuable employee. And they are right. Previously an electronics technician, Weilin now oversees the manufacturing and operation of AI-powered automated kiosks as an assistant engineer.

Career Conversion Programmes for Individuals  

Weilin joined Viervlak Pte Ltd, Singapore’s first robotic convenience store, in 2020, under a six-month Career Conversion Programme (CCP)During this period, he underwent industry-recognised training, including forklift operation, robotics and automation. In addition to structured on-the-job training, Irene Zhu, director at Viervlak, mentored Weilin personally, helping him transit into his new role. 


“Irene was open to sharing her work experiences and guided me in every step of my learning. On top of technical knowledge and skillsets, my interpersonal skills have also improved, thanks to Irene,” Weilin shared during the interview. 


He is grateful for the guidance and opportunity. Weilin’s story is one of the success cases of mid-career switchers who have benefitted from the CCPs. Previously known as Place-and-Train Programmes or Professional Conversion Programmes, CCPs support mid-career individuals in career conversion through training and reskilling across different sectors.

Weilin, with his mentor, Irene Zhu

Career Conversion Programmes for Employers

Employers also found the CCPs beneficial for their recruitment and training efforts.


Through CCPs’ industry-recognised training, companies have a larger pool of candidates to consider when hiring. These candidates possess years of work experience, transferrable skillsets and a keen attitude towards learning. Weilin is a case in point. 


Irene Zhu also added that having a comprehensive training plan that outlines the skillsets required for each job position communicates the company’s commitment to talent development. This approach helps position the company as a progressive employer. Moreover, the mentorship programme enhances employee engagement and onboarding experience, assisting employees in settling into their new roles.


Additionally, companies can tap on government funding through course fee grants and salary support when training eligible mid-career individuals under the CCPs. 

Career Conversion Programmes Application

Irene Zhu reached out to NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) for Viervlak’s CCP application. 


“e2i is a reliable and professional partner who has provided prompt assistance with our application and claim process,” Irene shared.


By working closely with industry partners to develop CCPs, e2i helps address the manpower shortages in many industries and increase the employability of job seekers. e2i also connects companies with the relevant agencies and training organisations to tackle skills gaps among job seekers.


Companies or individuals interested to take part in CCPs can contact e2i at https://e2i.com.sg/contact-us/enquiries/general-enquiries or visit https://e2i.com.sg/businesses/training/career-conversion-programme/ for more information. 

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