Some mid-career switchers uncover their passion for a new career when they help people in need.
Such was the case for Vincent Low, a former electrician.
While working with an electronics component manufacturer in 1994, the United Workers of Electronics & Electrical Industries (UWEEI) approached him to join as a union member and representative.
At that time, his company was moving out due to the slow demand for consumer products and many workers needed the union’s advice.
As the union representative, Vincent stepped in to take care of his fellow members. This served to grow his passion for union work.
Later that same year, he was seconded to UWEEI for six months to learn how to unionise new companies or branches.
He shared: “My first experience during my six-month secondment was to unionise a contract manufacturing company with a bargainable workforce of around 700 workers.
“We spent a few weeks meeting with workers during their lunch breaks and the midnight rush hour.
“We mobilised all our staff and the union’s executive council after our dinner and dance to talk to workers about the secret ballot conducted by the Manpower Ministry.”
Thanks to his success in unionising a new branch, UWEEI decided to hire him to do membership work on a full-time basis.
By February 1995, Vincent had joined NTUC Administration and Research Unit (NTUC-ARU) or NTUC’s headquarters as a Membership Officer.
“I believe in the union, and I’m passionate about helping workers and enjoying the challenge,” he shared.
Based in UWEEI’s membership department, he spent the next 27 years growing the union’s membership through unionising new branches and recruiting new members.
“It is rewarding when you see the membership growing,” added Vincent, who has helped the union to bring in 50 per cent of its branches.
As the membership profile became younger and more highly skilled, Vincent found that he had to learn new ways to engage workers and companies.
He elaborated: “UWEEI gave me a lot of opportunities to learn a better way of reaching out to younger groups of members.
“I also benefited from learning new skills with the team’s guidance, such as e-applications and e-payments.”
Vincent’s other main task was to organise the union’s sports activities within the Labour Movement.
When he first joined, NTUC-ARU used to hold inter-union sports competitions annually. Vincent was responsible for evaluating the activities UWEEI would be competing in and sending a team of representatives to participate.
He continued with this role even after the competition was handed over to the Labour Movement’s sporting community U Sports, becoming what is known today as U Games.
Vincent retired from NTUC-ARU/UWEEI in 2022 as a Senior Membership Specialist.
Even as he steps into the next chapter of his life, the fond memories remain and will always be a part of him.
“We are like sisters and brothers supporting each other as a big family. We trust and respect each other and share the common goal of helping workers,” he shared.