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At the Ministry of Transport’s Committee of Supply Debate 2017 on 8 March 2017, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo highlighted a plan for systematic manpower development.
In her speech, she said: “Smarter ports and more vibrant enterprise ecosystems bring many more good jobs. All in all, we expect some 13,000 new jobs in the air and sea transport sectors by 2025.”
She pointed out that jobs created over the next 10 years will be markedly different from what is seen today. “The increasing deployment of smart technologies means that new jobs will be more knowledge-intensive,” she said.
She explained that at the port, more data scientists and operations research analysts will be needed to optimise shipping routes, port operations and vessel traffic management.
“At the airport, we will require data scientists skilled in air traffic operations research and analysis, to optimise our runway and airspace capacities through modelling and simulation,” Teo added.
The Senior Minister of State for Transport also pointed out that technology will also transform existing jobs into higher skill, higher value-added jobs.
She gave the example of port equipment engineers today who are responsible for maintaining and repairing the port’s equipment and facilities.
“With the introduction of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), they (the engineers) will also plan and design operations to segregate manned and unmanned activities, and to synchronise the AGVs’ operations with other automated equipment.
“We are also investing in baggage and cargo robotics systems at the airport that will leave the more repetitive tasks of lifting and loading to the machines, freeing up our workers to oversee other parts of operations,” Teo said.
In order to help Singaporeans at different stages of their careers make the most of these new career opportunities, Teo highlighted that the Ministry of Transport will work closely with the tripartite partners.
For fresh school-leavers, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) are working with institutes of higher learning to develop new industry-specific training schemes.
These group of professionals can make use of five SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programmes (ELPs).
Two of which are for passenger service agents and ground operations specialists at the airport, introduced in October 2016. The next intake for these two programmes is scheduled for April this year.
The three other ELPs were launched last year for port operations officers, deck officers and marine engineers.
The ministry is also also helping mid-career Singaporeans switch to maritime and aviation careers.
To prepare these mid-career professionals for roles in flight operations, baggage, catering, maintenance, and cargo, Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) will provide structured training and career progression, with corresponding salary increases.
She added that PCPs for more occupations will be launched in due course.
Singaporeans already in the aviation and maritime sectors
The ministry will also help Singaporeans already in the aviation and maritime sectors progress in their careers.
To enable Singaporeans to be trained in new and increasingly important areas (such as data analytics and new maritime technologies), MPA will enhance the Maritime Cluster Fund for Manpower Development to support a wider range of training.
“We expect this to benefit some 5,000 locals annually,” the Senior Minister of State for Transport said.
Better career planning
To help Singaporeans better plan their careers, the ministry will also develop Skills Frameworks help professionals identify the relevant and necessary skills for advancement.
Teo said: “The Skills Framework for the Sea Transport sector, which was developed in consultation with the industry and unions, will be launched in April. A Skills Framework will also be developed for the Air Transport sector.
“But let me make clear that we can’t make this work without the companies taking an active interest and the workers being willing to adapt. So the tripartite involvement and tripartite commitment will be key.”
Photo / 123RF