18.35 Activism - Young Activists
Passion, Purpose, Pragmatism

Imagine taking a MRT ride on the track line that you have played a part in helping to build – this is exactly what Gavin Chan will be doing in the near future when the Thomson-East Coast Line officially opens.

“This is going to be quite cool for me, to see a project of this scale coming to fruition after being on it for a few years,” said Gavin, a principal geotechnical engineer with CPG Consultants. More importantly, he finds it fulfilling to know that his work helps to provide a solution to a societal need such as having a more convenient and efficient public transport system.

From being involved with massive national projects to being a champion of sustainability by promoting green solutions as part of the building and infrastructure designs for clients, Gavin’s career has been nothing short of enriching. He shares his experience and learning with youths who will be future engineers as a career guide with Young NTUC – a role he volunteered for after encounters as an induction trainer at work ignited his passion to mentor others.


“I hope my sharing and mentorship can help provide clarity to the mentees on how they can set their path for greater career satisfaction. I’ve seen a number of young talents burning out very fast after being in their job for a while. This often stemmed from the lack of awareness about society, or life at work in general. Passion alone cannot sustain our motivation for the long run,” said Gavin candidly.

He distilled his career planning advice down to 3Ps: passion, purpose and pragmatic needs. While passion fuels one’s drive at start, finding a purpose in life is what would help sustain the drive for the long haul. Finding a purpose sometimes requires a hard look into one’s pragmatic needs, answering questions such as “what level of comfort do you aim to live in?” and “how do you wish to be recognised at work?”. Very often, Gavin focuses his mentorship on helping his mentees discover their purpose and sharing with them the milestones they would need to clock to journey towards their goals.

When asked about his most memorable experience in career mentoring, Gavin shared, “One of my mentees joined our company last year. From being mentor-mentee to colleagues who are now working together on the same project, this is going one full circle. I’ve helped him chart and plan his career, and shared my advice with him. Now that we are colleagues, it’ll be meaningful to see how he will develop and grow. This also puts me to the test to see if I am walking the talk I imparted.”