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Our Trainers, Our Pride: Securing Singapore’s Borders
Training ICA officers in the finer points of detecting forged immigration documents.

Home Team News ICA Trainer Candice 001
PHOTOS: Desmond Ang

Our Trainers, Our Pride profiles outstanding Home Team trainers, a key factor behind our ability to keep Singapore safe and secure. 

When Assistant Superintendent (ASP) Candice Sin isn’t studying new forms of document forgery at the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) Headquarters, she’s training ICA officers in techniques to detect counterfeit passports and immigration documents that have been tampered with at the Home Team Academy (HTA). As an Adjunct Trainer with the ICA Training Command since 2016, ASP Candice conducts about 30 such courses throughout the year. She shares what she loves about her work. 

Why did you join ICA? 
I was a Chemistry graduate from the National University of Singapore and had joined a tech firm in the private sector as a Laboratory Technologist. In search of a meaningful and purposeful career, I decided to join the Civil Service and applied to join ICA in 2012.

Tell us about your work as an ICA officer.
I examine suspicious or irregular immigration documents in order to prevent the entry of undesirable persons into Singapore. As part of our inspection process, we integrate elements of various forensic disciplines and Materials Science into what we do.

Besides dealing with forged documents, I also examine legitimate, newly issued immigration documents that are shared with us by other countries. It’s a privilege to be given the opportunity to examine these documents first-hand, so that we can highlight important details that our frontline officers need to know in order to differentiate the genuine documents from the counterfeit and altered ones.

What do you love most about your role as a Trainer?
I really enjoy the engagement with my trainees because this is something I don’t usually get to experience in my role as a document analyst. It’s very fulfilling to be able to share my knowledge with trainees, and I feel an immense sense of pride whenever my trainees achieve success, whether by uncovering fake passports or detecting travellers who conceal their identities and pose immigration or security risks to the country.

Home Team News ICA Trainer Candice collage

How do you optimise the learning experience for officers and ensure that your training is effective?

For me, it boils down to understanding the profile of my trainees. Before I conduct my lessons, I’ll consider the profiles of the officers and tailor my teaching to their needs and preferences. For example, if a class generally consists of younger officers, I’ll devise a more interactive programme, with games and quizzes, to keep them engaged. Conversely, for older, more experienced officers, I’ll use teaching methods that they’re more comfortable with. 

How have ICA’s training methods at HTA evolved over the years?
We apply a mix of learning methodologies – some trainees are visual learners while others are more hands-on, so we try our best to cater to the different learning styles and use the most effective approach.

We’ve also introduced more self-directed and hands-on learning for trainees. To keep our lessons relevant and grounded, we also present case studies from those detected at our checkpoints for the trainees to study. 

It's not only about classroom-centric lessons anymore. We’ve moved towards combining e-learning with in-class learning, and our e-learning modules give officers a better understanding of what’s to be covered in class, so that trainers can devote more time for hands-on activities when teaching. For example, I can teach officers how to use inspection tools like the magnifier or UV light immediately without explaining what they’re used for because the trainees have already learnt about them in an e-learning module. This improves the efficiency and quality of our training.

What are the values that a good Trainer should possess?
Good Trainers should have both pride and passion in what they do. Apart from a passion for teaching, you need to take pride in your role as an ICA officer. You must believe in the importance of your job before you demonstrate it to your trainees. If you don’t walk the talk, it’ll show in your teaching.

- Our Trainers, Our Pride: Helping to Shape the Next Generation of Lifesavers 
- Our Trainers, Our Pride: A Dynamic Balance
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Tiffany Tan
  2. 16 April 2020
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