Singaporeans are increasingly seeking out meaningful, skilled labour, amid a growing push for better recognition and pay for such professions. TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts of young Singapore residents who have chosen careers in manual trades and are thriving.
Here, Ms Makesvary Krishnasamy, 22, recounts how she stumbled into a greenery and landscaping course at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). Over time, she developed a love for plants and the outdoors — much to her family’s surprise — and is now a landscape supervisor deployed at the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Wonders.
When I was younger, I wanted to help people and thought I would pursue a career in social services. Now, I help plants instead!
I am a landscape supervisor at BNL Services, an environmental services company which provides landscape, cleaning, and waste management services.
My team and I look after and inspect the trees and plants at Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Wonders.
A typical day will see me check various trees for defects which might lead to falling branches, or even the whole tree.
Once a defect has been spotted, I would need to rectify it. For example, if I spot dead branches on a tree, I will get my team to remove them.
I love looking after plants and trees and I truly enjoy my work.
It wasn’t always like this, though.
My N-Level results weren’t great and of the 12 courses I listed in my ITE application, a Nitec in Urban Greenery & Landscape was my last choice. As fate would have it, it was the course I got into at ITE College East.
I entered the course in 2018, having no idea what it would be like.
By actively participating in class and horticultural activities organised by the school and industry, I slowly developed an interest.
Having spent time outdoors and figuring out what makes plants tick, I discovered that, “Hey, it’s fun working with plants!”.
My lecturer also played a big part in my career choice. Her passion for plants really inspired me — she was the one who showed me how important plants are.
She gave me a lot of support while I was studying and created more opportunities for me to gain exposure and build my network in the landscaping industry.
My family was surprised when they found out about my interest. They definitely didn’t expect me to be a plant lover since I wasn’t exposed much to nature when I was younger.
Once they got used to the idea, they supported my decision to turn this interest into a career. Now, they are proud and happy that I choose to do what I love.
After graduating from my Nitec course, I enrolled in the newly-introduced ITE Work-Study Diploma (WSDip) in Arboriculture & Horticulture in 2020.
That was when I joined BNL Services.