Embracing my development at CEDD
By Ms Marion K W KAN
Source: The HKIE’s Monthly Journal – Hong Kong Engineer May 2015 Issue
"We engineer Hong Kong's development" - a slogan printed on a hoarding first attracted me to the Civil Engineering & Development Department (CEDD). That was the moment when I started considering how I could give back to society after graduating with a civil engineering degree. Later, in a recruitment talk organised by the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the CEDD, I was deeply impressed by the efforts made by GEO to reduce landslide risks in Hong Kong by setting up a comprehensive and effective slope safety system. The Po Shan Road landslide video together with a graph showing the significant reduction in landslide risk since the establishment of GEO (formerly called Geotechnical Control Office) in 1977 made me realise that engineers can make a difference and shape a better Hong Kong.
I joined GEO as a geotechnical engineering graduate and started my fruitful and memorable journey in Scheme "A" Training. The training programme offered me invaluable opportunities to explore the different divisions in the office and learn about Hong Kong's geology through field trips, gain hands-on experience in the Public Works Central Laboratory by undertaking detailed design and being involved in contract administration for landslip prevention and mitigation projects. I was also seconded to the Highways Department and a consultancy firm to gain more site and design experience.
Apart from routine training, I am delighted to contribute to GEO's public education activities to promote the importance of slope maintenance, including outreach days in remote villages. I visited the villagers' houses to remind them to observe landslip warning signals and keep away from slopes when the signal is issued. I also volunteered to be an ambassador at slope safety exhibitions, to introduce the landslide history and slope safety information to the general public.
I am also happy to engage the younger generation. I joined the "Day Camp for Geotechnical Engineers for Tomorrow" organised by CEDD in 2014 as one of the group leaders, to give the students guidance and advice during the activities. Secondary school students were given a chance to learn about basic concepts in geotechnical engineering and soil mechanics and apply the knowledge by building sand castles. I enjoyed our dynamic interaction; they reminded me of the reason I like geotechnical engineering - to understand and deal with what nature offers us - soil and rock - and to utilise them with engineering judgement.
The HKIE President's Protégé Scheme (PPS) is a highlight in my training period. It was my great honour to be selected as one of the ten protégés of Immediate Past President Ir Raymond K S Chan. My horizon was broadened through shadowing Ir Chan and working closely with protégés from diverse disciplines. I was given invaluable opportunities to participate in and contribute to HKIE's activities, such as working with Ir Chan in preparing for an interview at TVB for the China's Mega Projects TV documentary series, which showcased mega projects in the Mainland.
It was also my pleasure to take up different roles in HKIE activities, such as being the master of ceremony for the Presidential Address in 2013 and being a helper at HKIE's booth at the Education and Careers Expo and HKIE Hi-Tech Fiesta 2014, etc. PPS not only offered me opportunities to gain insight into the workings of the HKIE, but also gave us the flexibility to set up various self-initiated task forces. We worked as a collaborative team in organising technical visits, community services, delegation, job shadowing scheme and interviews with senior figures. While coordinating the PPS self-initiated job shadowing scheme in CEDD, which is one of the seven participating organisations in our programme, I was again reminded that promoting the image of the engineering profession is a lifelong mission. University students participated in full-day job shadowing in various divisions and we were gratified to know that the students found the programme rewarding.
Although the one-year PPS has come to an end, my commitment to the HKIE is ongoing. Currently I am serving as a committee member in the President's Protégés Club and a helper for the Geotechnical Division. I wish to continue my efforts to promote engineering to the public, to bring the younger generation, in particular high calibre female students, into our profession and to strive for engineering excellence in my career.
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to GEO for the great training programme, to my engineering supervisor, training tutors, coaches and colleagues who arranged my training scheme, and my fellow geotechnical engineering graduates and protégés, from whom I have learned so much.