NEW FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT INCREASES DEPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSFS

Actions
https://www.mindef.gov.sg/web/wcm/connect/pioneer/a63c4f4c-cb88-4f61-8dac-767e05cb93b4/30may22_news1_thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-a63c4f4c-cb88-4f61-8dac-767e05cb93b4-o5LYezJ /web/wcm/connect/pioneer/a63c4f4c-cb88-4f61-8dac-767e05cb93b4/30may22_news1_thumbnail.jpg?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_1QK41482LG0G10Q8NM8IUA1051-a63c4f4c-cb88-4f61-8dac-767e05cb93b4-o5LYezJ /web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/ops-and-training/2022-Q2/30may22_news1
/web/portal/pioneer/article/regular-article-detail/ops-and-training/2022-Q2/30may22_news1
30may22_news1
30 May 2022 | OPS & TRAINING

NEW FUNCTIONAL ASSESSMENT INCREASES DEPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSFS

// STORY BY KOH ENG BENG

// PHOTOS BY CHAI SIAN LIANG

English 华文
As a transport operator in Transport Hub (West), LCP Lau supports combat units for training, including outfield exercises.

He had wanted to follow in his officer dad's footsteps to serve in a combat unit during National Service (NS). But Lance Corporal (LCP) Lau Kah Onn's dream was dashed when he was deemed to be medically unfit – his knee was prone to dislocation due to past injuries.

His Physical Employment Standards (PES) status was C9, and he would likely have been trained as an Admin Support Assistant. But thanks to the introduction of the Functional Assessment (FA) for Transport Operators, LCP Lau was found to be suitable to be a transport operator.

It's not quite a full-fledged combat role, but he gets to be in the thick of action, ferrying troops and equipment outfield.

BMTC School V recruits (right and second from right) undergoing the FA, a set of physical ability tests which simulate activities that are frequently undertaken by transport operators, such as the mounting and dismounting of a five-ton truck.

Introduced in April 2021, the FA tests whether a serviceman has any difficulty in doing the daily operations of a transport operator and, in doing so, determines if he is functionally and physically fit for the role.

These physical ability tests were developed by Headquarters Army Medical Services, in consultation with physiotherapists and occupational therapists from Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

In May last year, LCP Lau enlisted at Basic Military Training Centre (BMTC) School V, a training school for PES C and PES E recruits. There, he was given the chance to undergo the FA.

Passing the assessment showed that "my PES status is not a limiting factor to my ability to perform as a transport operator," said LCP Lau.

This FA station tests a serviceman's strength to lift a vehicle's tailboard (simulated by a weighted ball).

Today, the 21-year-old can drive eight different types of Army vehicles such as the five-ton truck, ops utility vehicle and ambulance.

He said: "It was quite an eye opening experience – it allowed me to feel more involved, in being able to contribute to national security by actively supporting our frontline forces.

"I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity to go for the functional assessment which cleared me to go for my transport operator course.

"It basically allowed me to contribute more to national security (and) go outfield –all this made my NS very memorable."

LCP Lau added that his mum was initially worried that he might strain his knee from driving, but she felt assured after LCP Lau told her that there was a strong emphasis on safety and that he had sufficient driving practice as well as time for rest.

Mr Heng (in blue shirt) observing an NSF checking for a simulated blind spot during the FA.

Increased manpower pool

Since the FA was introduced in April 2021, the SAF has seen a seven per cent increase in the manpower pool for transport operators, said Senior Minister of State for Defence Heng Chee How. He was visiting BMTC School V to observe the conduct of a FA on 30 May.

Mr Heng interacting with BMTC School V recruits.

Sharing his observation, Mr Heng said: "So if a person who – may not be of the PES status that would originally have been allowed to perform this function – passed the 8-station test, they would now be allowed to be trained into that vocation…

"This means that, from the manpower point of view, we are able to access a bigger pool of transport operators."

Given the country's low birth rate, it is crucial for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to make the best use of each Full-time National Serviceman's (NSF's) abilities, he added.

Equally important, he stressed, was the fact that NSFs feel appreciated if they can be deployed for a role that's functionally and operationally required.

Suggested Reading
Becoming soldiers: First field camp
Cover story
Becoming soldiers: First field camp
OPS & TRAINING
18-Nov-22

It's a rite of passage that all new recruits in Basic Military Training (BMT) must go through in their journey to becoming full-fledged soldiers in the Singapore Armed Forces.

Pioneer batch of DIS specialists graduate Feature
Pioneer batch of DIS specialists graduate
PEOPLE
17-Nov-22

Among the DIS graduands is 3SG Philemon Tei, who had to cope with the loss of a loved one during training but eventually emerged as a Silver Bayonet recipient.

Jump! Actor-model takes on Commando airborne training Feature
Jump! Actor-model takes on Commando airborne training
PEOPLE
08-Nov-22

2SG (NS) Iswan Ismail thought taking part in a new reality series on SAF challenges would be pretty basic – the actor-model ended up getting a taste of the Commandos' airborne training!

Commando, techie & YouTube entrepreneur
Commando, techie & YouTube entrepreneur
PEOPLE
13-Oct-22

In just two years, Julian Tay grew his own tech channel to 29k subscribers. The YouTuber revisits his Commando roots as a guest star in new reality series CAMOKAKIS: Whole Lot Fall In.

Medical director, doctor & NSman
Medical director, doctor & NSman
PEOPLE
04-Oct-22

COL (Ret) (Dr) Kenneth Mak wears many hats – he's the Director of Medical Services, a trauma surgeon and has served in the SAF as an NSman for 27 years.

Paddling against all odds Feature
Paddling against all odds
PEOPLE
26-Aug-22

This Full-time National Serviceman (NSF) medic did not let circumstances get in his way of sporting success.

Returning home to serve
Returning home to serve
PEOPLE
17-Aug-22

African-Singaporean on his way to becoming an officer Feature
African-Singaporean on his way to becoming an officer
PEOPLE
04-Aug-22

Commando, doctor & national hurdler Feature
Commando, doctor & national hurdler
PEOPLE
06-Jun-22

This 27-year-old commando medical officer did Singapore proud by winning a silver medal in 110m hurdles at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam in May – this was Singapore's first medal at the event since 1989.