Past Activities
q Through the years
go to Highlights of Activities through the years

On 20 April 1970, the pro-tem committee for the formation of SPC met and the following Office Bearers were elected:

Dr Phoon Wai-On (SMA) Chairman
Mr Rex Koh Kim Chuan(SIA) Deputy Chairman
Mr Chan Chee Wah (IES) Honorary Secretary
Mr Foo Meng Fong (SSA) Honorary Treasurer

On 11 July 1970, the inaugural meeting of the Board of Trustees was held with Representatives from the following seven professional bodies:

1. Institution of Engineers of Singapore
2. Singapore National Academy of Science
3. Singapore Dental Association
4. Singapore Institute of Surveyors
5. Singapore Medical Association
6. Singapore Institute of Architects
7. Singapore Society of Accountants

With a generous grant of $220,880 from the Commonwealth Foundation and the offer of 400 sqm premises at a reasonable rental from the Housing Development Board, the Singapore Professional Centre (SPC) was officially opened by the then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr S Rajaratnam on 18 January 1971 at the Outram Park Block.

The founding philosophy is to bring the professionals together and harness their unique combination of diversity and talents to build a better society not only for themselves but also more importantly, for Singapore.

The development of the Centre was summed up by SPC's former patron-in-chief, Dr Lee Chiaw Meng, as follows:

"When the Singapore Professional Centre was first established there were doubts about its viability. It had been predicted by many other organizations, which were established with great initial enthusiasm but were not able to sustain the interest of their members. It is not easy for an umbrella organization to be constantly on the move. This is particularly so for the SPC as it covers such diversified interest and most of the constituent organizations are fairly active in their own spheres. To compound the problem, the SPC is not well endowed financially.

Fortunately, the critics have been proven wrong……."

However, as the founder Chairman had observed so many years ago, "one of the problems which we have faced from the beginning, is the fact that professional men and women and sometime professional bodies do not quite see the need to have an inter-professional organization. In the case of uni-professional organization, the advantages are sometimes obvious. They share the interest in a common discipline, they join together for mutual protection, and they also share the desire to maintain good standards of practice in that particular profession."

It would seem that once fully fledged, the raison d'etre of an organization would be clear to all, but the SPC, it seems, can only grow if it is first able to justify its existence.

Over the years, the membership has indeed evolved and SPC today has 21 member associations, 250 individual members and 1 corporate member, with a total membership of over 7000.

In 2001, SPC celebrated its 30th Anniversary and if anyone goes through the various publications over the years, the list of activities the SPC has pursued since its inception has been hailed as laudable. This voluntary, non-profit organization has been constantly active throughout the years, from organising dialogue sessions, talks, seminars and exhibitions to regional and international conventions, each with a different emphasis and of varying scales, to meet the needs of its members and to fulfil its role as a corporate body towards the nation-building of Singapore. These activities have provided professionals, students and the general public numerous opportunities for networking, career guidance, continuing education and avenues to provide feedback and work with the government.

The country was experiencing drastic changes in all aspects- political, social and economical- after Singapore's independence in the mid-sixties, as a result of which massive nation-building programme were put in place by the government. It was felt then that the professionals could contribute to this national exercise, and through the vision and commitment of Dr Lee Kum Tatt, Convenor and Honorary Fellow, SPC, the Singapore Professional Centre was formed. Diversity in the group has enabled SPC to take a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to identifying issues. Communication between the government and SPC was established via dialogue sessions and the Feedback Unit.

Dispelling the notion of professionals being of a different stock, SPC encouraged its members to volunteer their time and effort in community service. A major contribution to community work was the organization of a Urine/Blood Pressure Screening Programme which was launched and conducted at 69 community centres. The project was a follow-up to the National Health Campaign and was jointly organised by the People's Association and the National Kidney Foundation. More than 500 volunteers consisting of members and friends of various associations served in community centres from 1 October to 26 October 1980.

SPC also played a part in encouraging 169 professionals to volunteer their services for community projects of the People's Association in 1979. Recruitment through direct mailing recorded a total of more than 300 volunteers.

SPC has also mobilised volunteers for the Volunteer Social Service Bureau and the Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association. Another 22 members were asked to act as Aftercare Officers and Panel Speakers.

Another benchmark of SPC's dedication towards community development would be SPC's involvement in other associations. In January 1980, SPC became a corporate member of the People's Association, and the then Centre Chairman was invited to sit on the Board of the People's Association. SPC representatives also served in the then Singapore Council of Social Service and the then Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research. In addition, two office bearers of SPC contributed in launching the Singapore Action Group of Elders (SAGE) into existence.

SPC, right from its early years, has been conscious of the paramount importance of providing career guidance to the young school leavers. It has recognised that Singapore's growth depended on her youth's contributing effectively towards the economy and envisaging that career guidance was the key. This led to SPC's involvement in career education. The first career exhibition was held in January 1972 at the Victoria Memorial Hall. In 1973, it was held at the SPC's Outram Park premises and subsequently at all community centres through an arrangement with the People's Association.

In 1975, at the 1st SPC Convention "Towards a Better Singapore" the idea of SPC promoting manpower training for Singapore was raised. Within a year, the first career exhibition and seminar was held. This paved the way for the "CAREER" series held annually since 1988. Over the years, the CAREER Exhibition-cum-seminar, from its first simple set-up at the Outram Park Block, is now the largest regional career exhibition. CAREER 2000 incorporating Recruitment 2000 recorded over 334,000 visitors and 305 Exhibitors from 14 countries. 122 seminars were organised. Today the CAREER series caters not only to the young school leavers, but also to the public commencing a second or third career.

In 1993, the SPC initiated the SPC Student Ambassador Award with the main objective of nurturing the global spirit among young Singaporeans and to increase students' awareness of the importance of career planning. The contests from 1994-97 were based on the students' knowledge and competence in languages. In 1998, it was based on scholastic, extra-curricular contributions, interpersonal skills and leadership qualities. In 1999 and 2000, the contests were a 5-minute IT Multimedia presentation. Prizes were presented by the Guest of Honour at the opening ceremony of the CAREER Exhibition-cum-Seminar and the Top Award Winners each year, was awarded a weeklong overseas attachment during the March or June school holidays.

As our economy depends primarily on our labour force, our work force must therefore increase productivity and develop more creative, flexible and adaptable skills to meet challenges. Most people are generally not aware of the need for continuing education or place little emphasis on it. Recognising the dire need to promote a training tradition amongst our workforce, SPC together with its member associations and other professional bodies and training institutions formed a committee in 1985 to hold discussions with ministers on continuing education. In 1987, the Voluntary Certificate of Continuing Education and Development was established. Under this scheme, an individual is awarded a Certificate in Continuing Education and Development based on his/her attainment of 10 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) within a 24 month period. The CEU is recommended by the committee to give a quantitative measure to the learning activities. Each CEU is defined as "four contact hours of learning in an organised continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction and qualified instruction."

The foresight and vision of SPC's convenor Dr Lee Kum Tatt and the dedication and commitment of the past Chairpersons, Office Bearers and Board Members who laid the foundation for the organization to be not only as "a model for other professional centres in the Commonwealth" - (Dr Humayun Khan, Director, Commonwealth Foundation, October 1994), but to have attained the success as well as the continued support and recognition received from both government bodies and private sector for its programmes confirm SPC's achievement of its founding philosophy.

In the SPC- First Twelve Years Publication, the founder Chairman observed: "The practice of uni-professional discipline can be enhanced by better understanding what other professionals are doing. For example, a medical practitioner should know what his colleagues in the field of dentistry, nursing, physiotherapy and so on are doing. If you mix with people of your own profession, you somehow lack that breadth of thinking which modern professionals should have.

In a modern society with a lot of technology and social issues, many of the things that face us today are multi-disciplinary in nature. For example, housing requires the inter play of the disciplines of architecture, engineering, town planning, sociology, medicine and others."

In the old economy a professional is often perceived as a technocrat practising his discipline in a fairly restrictive environmental setting. His body of knowledge is largely confined to his discipline and his social life is also restricted to just members of his friends and family. In the new economy, however, this professional has to acquire more appropriate skills to stay employable, to be competitive, to assimilate knowledge outside his discipline, and to match with the rest of the global professionals. For example, a professional in the new economy has to be flexible and be competent in multi-tasking and multi-skill processes.

Moreover, as Singapore moves into the knowledge-based economy (KBE), each professional may have to live up to the demand for:
a) a high standard of professionalism,
b) a broad-base of knowledge to handle wider job scope,
c) know-how of dealing with knowledge workers,
d) acceptance of continuous learning and
e) a wider network of establishing contacts in a borderless world "

In 2001-2002, SPC will be organising activities toward the Total Professional Development (TPD) of its members, (Refer to Chart on Total Professional Development)) which will include Networking, Continuous Learning, Wellness, Professional Image through Professional Grooming and Etiquette, Safety Net in economic downturn, as provided for by the Singapore Professionals and Executive Cooperative (SPEC), Community services etc….

Emphasis will be made on:
>Working towards Accreditation: Member Associations who are not statutory regulated should  consider working toward accreditation to enhance the quality of professionalism in their fields  and ensure a degree of protection for the professionals against foreign unqualified foreign and  local professionals
>Continuing Education: Re-Launch of the Continuing Education and Development scheme  started in 1987 and to offer executive development programmes and short educational  programmes to assist in the transition to the New Economy.
>Bi-lateral and Multi-lateral activities: To emphasise networking within the 21 member  associations and to promote the exchange of interdisciplinary expertise and skills and to  promote membership bonding
>The SPC Journal to go electronic and a re-vamp of the SPC website, to encourage member  associations to advertise their activities and event through the SPC website
>Community Services Projects. SPC with a membership of 7,000 in the various interdisciplinary  professions is in the best position to educate the community and bring home to them the  message of gearing up for lifelong employability by updating one's knowledge and skills as the  professional has little choice, if he wants to remain at the top, in face of intense competition  and to stay relevant in the New Economy.

SPC in co-locating with Toa Payoh Central Community Club, will make itself more easily accessible to the public at large and assist the Toa Payoh CCC expand its programmes to attract the professionals/executives in the Toa Payoh area to the CC.

In co-locating with the Toa Payoh Central CC, SPC will:
>offer relevant talks/seminars/workshops organised, to the residents of Toa Payoh at SPC  members' privileges/ registration fees.
>assist in changing the present image of CCs' through interaction with the constituents of Toa  Payoh.
>encourage the professionals and executives to participate in community services
>encourage the professionals and executives to participate in the activities of the CC by  organising relevant seminars, workshops etc, so that the Community Club can remain the focal  point of community life

Highlights of Activities through the years:
Official Opening at the Outram Park premises
Conference on Professions in the Commonwealth
First Exhibition on professional careers You and the Professions at Victoria Memorial Hall
Launch of Insurance Scheme
Launch of Discount Scheme
Launch of Housing Scheme
SPC became a member of the Singapore Council of Social Services
Convention on Towards a Better Singapore
Convention on The Role of Professionals in Society
Publication of a Guide to Career Decision-making The Big Decision
First Issue of "The Singapore Professionals" Journal of the Singapore Professional Centre
SPC became Associate Member of National Council of Social Service (NCSS)
3-day Seminar on Professional Careers for School Leavers, officiated by the then Senior   Minister of Education Mr Chai Chong Yii
Convention on Professional Skills and Services
Commonwealth Professional Centres Seminar, Nairobi, Kenya
Seminar on Careers in Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy
First China Tour
1978 Convention on Preparing for Retirement
Seminar on Professional Careers in the Building Industry
Seminar on Careers in Bio-Chemistry Professions
Seminar on Careers in Health and Social Services
Seminar on Careers in Management and Marketing
Familiarisation Tour to People's Association
Convention on Partners in Development
First publication of SPC Directory
5th Commonwealth Foundation Seminar
Seminar on Coping with your Adolescent Children
Career Talks for School Leavers
SPC became a Corporate Member of the People's Association
Urine/Blood Pressure Screening Programme
Goodwill Mission to China
Official Visit by Mr John Chadwick, Director, Commonwealth Foundation
Lunch Talk on The Professional as an Unofficial Ambassador of Goodwill for His Country
Seminar on Psychology and its Bearing on Education, jointly organized with the Singapore Psychological Society
Convention on Computers and the Professionals in the Eighties
Convention on Role of Professionals as Ambassadors of Goodwill
1st Asian and Pacific Chemistry Congress
Institute of Industrial Engineers 9th National Congress
Publication of guidebook for the International Consulting Engineers Conference
Informal Meeting with Mr Goh Chok Tong, the then Minister of Health and 2nd Minister of Defence (now Prime Minister of Singapore)
Second China Tour
Convention on High Rise, High Density Living
Participation in the National Day Parade as a marching contingent
Convention on Professional Services and Business opportunities in China
Seminar on Career Guidance for a Better Future - the Parents' Role at Pinetree Club
Participation in the National Day Parade as a marching contingent
Convention on Productivity in Professional Services
Establishment of `Certificate in Continuing Education and Development' (CEUD) Scheme
CAREER '88 Exhibition and Seminar: Human Resource Development through Education and Training
CAREER '89 Exhibition and Seminar: A Better Choice
CAREER '90 Exhibition and Seminar: Towards Higher Achievement
Singapore 25th Anniversary Charity Fund Activities
-Golden Horse Festival (jointly organized by Singapore Polo Club, Bukit Timah Saddle Club  and Riding for the Disabled Association)
-Miss Singapore/World Beauty Pageant 1990 (jointly organised by 11 Lions/Lioness Clubs)
-Singapore Professionals Charity Ball
SPC Professional Career Profile Volumes I sponsored by NTUC Income
CAREER '91 Exhibition and Seminar: Plan for the High-Tech Era
Commonwealth Regional Workshop on Career Guidance
Congratulatory Dinner for Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong: The Next Lap Together
National Tribute Dinner for Mr Lee Kuan Yew (representing professional bodies)
Meeting with Brig-Gen (NS) George Yeo on Singapore
Professionals as Unofficial Ambassadors
CAREER '92/AHEAD '92 Exhibition and Seminar: Towards Global Services
Professionals' Book Fair '92
SPC Professional Career Profile Volumes II sponsored by NTUC Income
SPC 21st Anniversary Celebrations
Prime Minister's Garden Party
Commonwealth Workshop on Supporting Career Education in Schools
CAREER '93 Exhibition and Seminar: Strive for Excellence
Prime Minister's Garden Party
SPC sponsored "Preparation for Career Exhibition" a workbook compiled by the Ministry of  Education
International Conference on Open Learning 1994: Empowering the Instructors
Student Ambassador Award 1994: Singapore and Beyond: A Better Tomorrow or  Singapore and Beyond: A Young Singaporean's Perspective
CAREER '94 incorporating Recruitment '94: Singapore and Beyond
Luncheon Meeting with the then Commonwealth Foundation Director Dr Humayun Khan
Dialogue Session on Professionals in Grassroots Organisations with Mr Wong Kan Seng
CAREER '95 incorporating Recruitment '95: Meeting the Global Challenge
International Conference on Open Learning: Enriching the Professionals
Student Ambassador Award 1995: Meeting the Global Challenge
Seminar on National Challenge led by Mr Lim Boon Heng
25th Anniversary Celebrations
Conferment of the Title of Honorary Chairmen
Visits to People's Association Divisions
CAREER '96 incorporating Recruitment '96: Better Opportunities,
Brighter Future
Student Ambassador Award 1996: Better Opportunities, Brighter Future: Nurturing the  Entrepreneurial Spirit Among Young Singaporeans or Better Opportunities, Brighter  Future: A Young Singaporean's Perspective
Dialogue Session on Community Bonding with Mr Abdullah Tarmugi
Establishment of Commonwealth Association of Professional Centres
Student Ambassador Award 1997: Nurturing a Caring and Capable
 Singaporean (in English) Partners in Development: Singapore-Germany Cooperation (in  German)
CAREER '97 incorporating Recruitment '97: Link with the Past: Gateway to Success
Presentation of Career Guidance Tapes by SPC as Community Service
Closed door Dialogue Session with Dr Tony Tan, Deputy Prime Minister
International Conference on Open Learning (co-organised by Singapore Association for  Continuing Education): Enhancing People's Potentials
Student Ambassador Award 1998
CAREER '98 incorporating Recruitment '98: Building on our Dreams & Enhancing Economic  Development
SPC Presidents' Night
Dialogue Session with Mr Chan Soo Sen, Co-Chairman of the Singapore 21 Subject Committee on The Needs of Senior Citizens Versus The Aspirations of the Young
Talk on The Role and Responsibilities of the Professionals in Stemming the Storm of the Current Economic Climate with Mr Lim Swee Say, MP Tanjong Pagar GRC, the then Deputy Secretary General, NTUC
Student Ambassador Award 1999: The World Our Market,Singapore Our Home a 5-min IT  Multimedia Presentation
CAREER '99 incorporating Recruitment '99: Towards the 21st Century: Opportunities &  Challenges
SPC Presidents' Night
SPC-DPA Charity Golf 1999
Student Ambassador Award: Care to Learn, Learn to Care a 5-min IT Multimedia  Presentation
SPC-SIET Seminar on The Building Industry and You
CAREER 2000 incorporating Recruitment 2000: A New Millennium: A New Milestone
SPC Presidents' Night
SPC Pro-Am Golf Tournament 2000
30th Annual General Meeting
SPC Presidents' Night
CAREER 2001 incorporating Recruitment 2001: A New Age: A New Horizon
9th Asia Regional Association for Career Development (ARACD) Conference: Integrating  Living and Learning in Work
SPC 30th Anniversary Celebrations

Total Professional Development Programme:
>Community Service Projects with Toa Payoh Central Community Club
>Courses for Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning
>Re-launch of the Continuing Education and Development Certificate
>Working towards Accreditation for Member Associations
>30th Anniversary Dinner Celebrations with Member Associations celebrating their anniversary  year on 25 May 2001
>Re-locating to new office premises at Toa Payoh Central Community Club