Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that rail companies are looking to increase its engineers from about the current strength of 10,000 to 15,000 by 2030 to meet the growing demands of the industry.
“By 2030, we expect this number to grow further – at least by another 50 per cent to 15,000. But I suspect we will need more than that. This makes the rail industry a growth industry, whose employment prospects are almost guaranteed in the next decade,” said the Minister.
Mr Khaw, who is also the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, was speaking at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) at the launch of the Singapore Rail Academy (SGRA) this morning.
As LTA works towards doubling Singapore’s MRT network to 360km by 2030, it said that the demand for railway operations and maintenance jobs will increase significantly. SMRT and SBS Transit, have increased their hiring for engineering, operations and maintenance by 50 per cent to the current numbers but they will hire more to meet demands.
With the MOU, SGRA and e2i intend to develop targeted programmes to enlarge and professionalise Singapore’s local rail engineering core.
LTA said, “The MOU reaffirms SGRA’s function to partner public transport industry stakeholders to deepen the knowledge and skills of the local workforce in rail engineering, operations and maintenance.”
“It also enables e2i to collaborate with SGRA to attract, retain, and develop the local rail industry workforce through its programmes,” it added.
According to LTA, SGRA has collaborated with e2i to develop a bridging training programme, the Career On-boarding for Railway Engineering (CORE) programme. The CORE programme aims to up-skill engineers and technicians as they begin their careers in the rail sector, and to support the transition of mid-career entrants into the rail industry. e2i will provide training grants to eligible CORE programme participants.
The first batch of about 30 engineers from SBS Transit, SMRT and LTA attended the inaugural three-day foundation module conducted from 9 to 11 Jan 2017. The module is conducted by both in-house trainers as well as external experts.
The CORE programme will be the first of many learning opportunities that SGRA and e2i will work together on to support both new entrants and industry incumbents.
SGRA is partnering public transport operators and Institutes of Higher Learning to develop and roll-out further modules which will cover cross-functional and domain-specific competencies. Such modules include intermediate and advanced level modules that are in line with a rail industry competency framework that SGRA is developing under the Singapore Skills Framework.
More details on the framework will be announced at a later date.
Mr Gilbert Tan, Chief Executive Officer of e2i, said, “SGRA is an important milestone for e2i, LTA and Public Transport Operators to develop training and placement for rail professionals. Through bridging programmes such as CORE to equip local engineers and technicians with knowledge and expertise, we endeavour to deepen rail engineering capabilities.”
“e2i is committed to support PTOs to build a pool of qualified and competent workers and help Singaporeans join and progress in the sector,” he added.