DB trainee draws a line on public bother
After gradating with a master’s degree in civil engineering from Imperial College London, Tang Whai-tak joined the graduate training scheme offered by the Development Bureau (DB). He tells Wong Yat-hei that although new infrastructure benefits society, as an assistant civil engineer he has to work hard to minimise the impact on the public when work is in progress.
How do you start your day?
After having breakfast and reading the newspaper at home, I usually go to the office slightly earlier to catch up with my team mates and plan my day by prioritising the tasks ahead.
What does your job entail?
Under the training scheme, I work in the design office and design construction sites. Being in the public sector, the projects I have worked on include footbridges, the water-supply system and the public sewer system. These infrastructure projects are often understated, but they are crucial to improving our standard of living.
What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
There is no doubt that construction projects inconvenience the public. No matter whether I am at the design or the construction stage, I have to balance the needs of different stakeholders. In the process, we exercise our professional judgment to determine what is best for the public interest.
It is sometimes difficult to strike the balance and get the general public to appreciate the long-term benefits despite the short-term inconvenience caused. We therefore strive to engage the public throughout a project.
What are your future plans?
Upon completion of my training, which is managed by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, I will work towards obtaining my professional chartership. By becoming a qualified engineer I can look forward to stepping up to the next level of responsibility and hope to gain wider exposure to a variety of projects.
With the increasing number of jobs available, particularly in cross-boundary collaboration, I am certain that the engineering field will continue to offer me the opportunity to contribute to the development of Hong Kong.
What do you like most about the industry?
There is never a dull moment in the construction industry. There are lots of chances to apply your skills and knowledge on local jobs and overseas projects. If you enjoy being part of a team and would like to see your design being built in front of your eyes, this well-respected profession can give you incredible job satisfaction.