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In my second year journey as ACES President, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to my fellow Council, and to our invaluable volunteers that contributed their tireless efforts representing ACES in all the various committees.

2015 is a significant milestone for Singapore. Since independence 50 years ago, Consulting Engineers have contributed greatly to the built environment in areas such as infrastructure as town planning, transport, water, electricity, sanitation and now green energy, and environmental protocol on global warming, and depletion of natural resources.

Our profession is facing great challenges: labour resource shortages, difficulty in attracting young people into the field, higher operating costs, downward fee pressure from clients, the need to continually upgrade to stay relevant, the need to innovate, changes of regulatory frameworks, and at the same time, we are expected to produce greater and better results so as to achieve greater productivity.

The reality is, our young students regularly score very well in the STEM subjects - the Science, Maths, Engineering-type subjects. Yet ironically, in recent years, fewer have been applying for engineering and those who do take up engineering do not necessarily go on to become practicing consulting engineers. Most engineering students still consider banking, finance, business, and government services as career choices. And relative to other career choices, engineering is seen to be innovative and technical, but is weakly associated with prestige, status and career progression.

These challenges require ACES to become more influential in promoting the engineering as profession, the better understanding of what engineers do, and what engineers can do more than just engineering. We will continue our efforts to engage higher learning institutions to promote engineering, and participate in government's initiative on SkillsFuture, the enhanced Internships and industry attachments programmes. We must embrace the next progressive HR practices, and be supportive of our engineers' efforts to upgrade and upskill if our Consulting firm wishes to retain good people.

On the prospects of Consulting engineers, the Construction Demand in Singapore remain strong of S$25 - S$34 billion for 2015-2016. Amid uncertain housing demand, Public sector as key demand driver, including Thomson-East Coast MRT Line, Circle Line 6, KJE/PIE Improvement Works, North-South Expressway, Phase 2 of Deep Tunnel Sewerage System, Changi Airport Terminal 5 and Infrastructure Developments. Finally, Council has recently planned more out-reach activities, and networking for the members including seminars, movie night, bowling, and golf tournaments. We will also launch the updated Standard Conditions of Engagement for the provision of consulting engineering services in Singapore for the use by our members. These standard conditions will assist our member in Protection against onerous or unreasonable client behaviour where legal matters may arise.

We all thank you for your support.

Er. Ling Shiang Yun