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Matthew Lai joined Swire Properties as an apprentice in 2008 and spent three years in the Company’s apprentice programme gaining experience in various technical service teams. Currently the Technical Supervisor of Building Services at Pacific Place, Matthew is a good example of a Swire Properties employee who gained valuable hands-on experience in one of the Company’s trainee programmes and was able to assume a management role relatively early in their career.

Q&A

What do you do at Swire Properties? When did you join the Company?

I’m a member of the Pacific Place Management Office’s technical service team, where I work as the Technical Supervisor for Building Services. In my current role, I’m responsible for operation and management of Electrical system of Pacific Place. I started my career at Swire Properties as an apprentice in 2008 and worked in various technical service teams, including air-conditioning, fire services and electrical services, during the first three years of the apprentice programme.

Tell us something more about yourself.

I became a supervisor in my early 20s, which is quite rare in the Company. I take a bottom-up management approach, and I appreciate feedback from my colleagues.

What’s a typical workday like for you?

I lead of a team of electrical technicians, so a typical workday for me involves supervising their work and solving any problems they can’t solve themselves. Keeping in mind that many of the technicians in my team are older and more experienced than me, these are not easy tasks to manage! My biggest challenge is people management. If you can handle people management, you can handle anything! My approach is to foster a mutually respectful relationship based on trust, which allows the team find the best solutions together.

What do you enjoy best about your job?

I enjoy the process of reviewing existing installations and constantly improving them. I’m happy that I have been involved in projects that have improved the energy efficiency of the Company’s portfolios. Over time, we have been able to upgrade the existing installation to improve energy efficiency so that we can do similar tasks with less manpower and time. As a trendsetter in sustainability, Swire Properties is willing to invest in improving energy efficiency, which is something I’m very proud of.

What are your proudest achievements at the Company?

I was selected as one of the 12 Outstanding Apprentices/Trainees in the 2011 Outstanding Apprentice/Trainee Awards. I’m happy and grateful that my efforts were recognised by my colleagues.