You know you’re #adulting when you develop a hobby for all things plant and gardening. For Mr Chan, it has become his full-time hobby as a landscape maintenance worker.
Before discovering his passion, Chan Tuck Hon, 54, worked in the transport industry for 16 years where he spent 10 hours a day seated. Life as a landscape maintenance worker is a much healthier one, he added, not before proudly sharing that he feels fitter and healthier now as he spends most of his day on his feet.
Starting from the bottom in the landscape industry
When Mr Chan first started working in the landscape industry 3 years ago, he was bringing home a monthly salary of $1,350 – barely enough to support his family and put his two children through University and Polytechnic. But with the support and blessing from his family to pursue his passions, he continued to work at it.
Mr Chan picked up his landscaping knowledge from working on the ground and watching his colleagues, foreign workers, whom he says have loads of knowledge from experience that you just simply cannot get from books.
However, Mr Chan was not satisfied with the entry-level pay and struggled to get higher pay. Nobody was willing to recognise his hard work and talents without any formal certifications. It was then that he decided to pursue a 2-year course to obtain a landscaping certificate.
Under the landscape maintenance’s Progressive Wage Model (PWM), Mr Chan saw an increase in his pay as he meets the training requirements recommended by the Tripartite Cluster for Landscape Industry (TCL) upon the completion of the courses.
Since then, Mr Chan has always volunteered to go for training and takes on any opportunity to upskill. He was even prepared to pay for the courses in full, but thankfully he’s eligible for the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications grants, which have covered 95% of his course fees.
Tough but rewarding journey
It was hard juggling school and work at the same time. But like any enthusiastic student, eager to learn, he proudly boasted that he raises his hand to ask questions in class every chance he gets as it is the best way to get the most out of the lessons.
His passion for plants, coupled with sheer determination to be the best he can be, Mr Chan is now a Team Leader in his company, managing 11 workers daily.
Working under the hot sun day all day isn’t easy at all, but Mr Chan sees his job to be similar to that of a nurse’s. He describes that the plants are like his patients, and each and every plant is attended to and nursed back to health if any of them are sick.
When asked about his hopes and dreams for the coming years, Mr Chan shared that he is content with what he has, and aims to do his best every day.
He hopes to save as many plants as possible, and do his part to make the environment of his clients look as best as they can be.