Meet Saravanan S/O Subramaniam who embarked on a career with AETOS as an Aviation Screening Officer since its inception in 2004. Started off as a frontline officer, he has since risen through the ranks and is now a Senior Training Specialist at AETOS Training Academy (ATA). In the early days of his career, Saravanan once thought of calling it quits. However, he experienced an unexpected turn of events which eventually led him to stay on and advance his professional journey with AETOS. Keep reading to learn more about his story!
Hi Saravanan! Tell us about yourself.
Hey everyone! I’m Saravanan, currently the Senior Training Specialist at ATA. I've been with AETOS for nearly two decades, and it continues to be exciting with both vertical and lateral shifts in roles.
Since I was young, I always wanted to be independent. I find it fulfilling to achieve success with my own abilities. After my tertiary education, I wanted to quickly secure a job and earn my own income. No big dreams; I simply wanted to be self-sufficient.
Back then, working at the airport was quite popular and I happened to come across a position offered by AETOS that caught my interest. Little did I know that this opportunity would evolve into a long-lasting career for me.
How has your job role evolved over the years?
I started my career with AETOS as an Aviation Screening Officer in 2004. Over time, I rose through the ranks, transitioning from a Supervisor to an Operations Executive. My responsibilities also grew to include coordinating staff functions such as manpower, logistics and administration. Following that, the former Commander requested my assistance in setting up processes at the AETOS Command Centre. Soon after, I was entrusted with supervising the funding processes at ATA.
This experience also opened new doors for me, as I then went on to do strategic planning and policy development at AETOS Security Management (ASM). One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I am now a Senior Training Specialist, spearheading the development of advanced training programmes at ATA.
You have gone through quite a transition in your career at AETOS. Did you face any challenges along the way, and how did you overcome them?
If I say everything was “smooth as butter”, it’d be far from the truth. In fact, transitioning between different job roles was quite a challenge. With each new set of responsibilities, I didn't just invest time and effort; I had to embark on a journey of self-improvement, continuously enhancing my skills and competencies.
As I took on more significant leadership roles, I quickly saw the importance of developing resilience and an openness to change. While it is still a work in progress for me, I believe that having an outward mindset is the most critical in overcoming challenges. Not only has it helped me to see things from different perspectives, but also empowered me to proactively seek out and embrace new experiences.
I also found that learning from various leaders—whether it is within our organisation or from esteemed peers in the industry, such as SCDF, SPF, and SAF, has benefitted me tremendously in my career journey. Every interaction and exchange of ideas served as a valuable learning opportunity, equipping me to navigate changes with greater confidence.
What skills and qualities did you gain as a frontline officer that you believe have helped you in your current role?
Being an Aviation Screening Officer has provided me with valuable skill sets and qualities that have continued to serve me well in my current role. The hard skills I gained, particularly in processes and protocols, have played a critical role in shaping my approach to training and development.
Progressing to a Supervisor taught me the importance of becoming a dependable team member from an independent worker, as success often hinges on collective efforts. As I moved up the career ladder, my focus also shifted towards conceptual and strategic thinking—which is vital in my current role.
As a Senior Training Specialist, my role is centered around continuous innovation and development. Some of the responsibilities include identifying new business opportunities, building in-house training capabilities such as our first-aid and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) courses, and fostering a culture of training excellence within the organisation.
Having been on the ground, I am also able to leverage my experience as a frontline officer to better understand and address our clients’ operational challenges and needs.
What is the biggest highlight of your career as a Senior Training Specialist, and what do you find most fulfilling about your current role?
Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of my current role is the opportunity to serve as a consultant for our clients. Drawing from my experiences at AETOS, I am able to share valuable insights with other organisations and contribute to their growth and progress. Additionally, I am truly grateful and humbled to have been recognised by the Union of Security Employees (USE) Singapore at their 45th Anniversary Dinner this year. I had the honour of receiving the Loyal Membership Award plaque, which is not just an acknowledgement of my personal dedication, but also a recognition of my efforts and contributions to the larger security industry.
Thank you USE for the award, once again! It means a great deal to me.
What are some career goals you have set for yourself?
Although I've committed nearly two decades of my life to the security industry, I firmly believe that there's always room for continuous growth and learning. One of my goals is to proactively seek out innovative opportunities that can bring about positive change, not just within AETOS but also for our clients so that we can collectively uplift the industry.
At the same time, I will continue to put my best forward and strive for greater heights in my career.