Hear From Our Officers

Ernest Tay, Technical Cooperation Officer, Technical Cooperation Directorate

I was drawn to the Foreign Service as I wanted to see first-hand Singapore’s foreign policy in action and contribute towards advancing our national interests. My journey in MFA began with a holistic and rigorous Foreign Service Officer (FSO) application process comprising three stages: an online roundtable and writing and reasoning tests, the Assessment Centre (AC), and a panel interview. I found the second stage, the AC, especially memorable as it tested me on a series of tasks which reflected the multi-faceted work of MFA. Through the entire recruitment process, I was given a foretaste of what I could expect in my responsibilities as an FSO. 

My current role in the Technical Cooperation Directorate (TCD) has allowed me to experience Singapore’s diplomacy in action. Through the Singapore Cooperation Programme (SCP), I have planned and coordinated training courses and study visits to share Singapore’s development experiences with more than 180 developing countries, territories, and organisations. The work in TCD has been diverse and dynamic, with an interesting mix of policy and operations work. Beyond collaborating closely with domestic and international agencies to review policies, curate programmes and procure training vendors, I had the chance to interact with foreign government officials from all corners of the world as well as participate in enriching programme learning journeys. I have also been on work trips to profile the SCP, exchange ideas with our international counterparts in the developmental cooperation circuit and explore opportunities for cooperation to tackle the global challenges of our time together.

In addition to on-the-job training, MFA also provides a plethora of formal training programmes to prepare new officers for a diplomatic career, such as the six-week Foreign Service Basic Programme (FSBP), where new officers learn the fundamentals of diplomatic statecraft and get to network of colleagues within and external to MFA. During my FSBP, my batchmates and I visited the Embassy in Manila, where I witnessed the workings of an overseas mission. I am now looking forward my month-long Attachment to an Overseas Mission (ATOM) where I will get to experience working in one of MFA’s overseas missions. 


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