Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng said that up to 8,000 new jobs will be created or redesigned to enhance productivity by about 40 percent over the next eight years.
Speaking at the 2017 Aviation Community Reception hosted by Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on 20 April, Minister Ng assured industry workers that new roles would be created and salaries would be improved.
To maintain its leadership position among international air hubs in the world, plans are also being created to redesign Changi Airport into a smart airport.
The aviation sector aims to increase the current $7 billion value-add it provides to its customer to $8 billion by 2020. This will be achieved by using help of advanced technology and skills training, Mr Ng said.
“This is a very challenging target we are setting ourselves, as productivity in the sector has historically grown at lower rates. We need to be ambitious, if we want to stay ahead.”
“We must address every aspect of the airport and airline business, from passenger services, to cargo handling, air side functions, airline operations and air traffic control.”
“Improvements in one area cannot achieve their full potential unless complemented by changes in other areas,” Mr Ng said.
“Companies should ramp up the use of technology such as robotics to ease physically demanding and manual tasks in airport operations. Our workers can then be freed up to focus on more meaningful and value-added tasks,” he added.
Mr Ng gave an example that remote apron operations can protect workers from harsh weather. “They can use automated technology to control operations from the safety of a remote office and minimise time on the ground,” he said.
Some initiatives to increase productivity within the aviation industry include:
- Automated Passenger Loading Bridge (PLB): Designed to operate under harsh weather conditions, the world’s first automated PLB that can autonomously dock with an aircraft door
- Aviation Transformation Programme Office by CAAS: Facilitates collaboration between industry and the research community
- Smart Tower: Smart Tower would allow air traffic controllers to manage live air traffic and enhance situational awareness and visibility for remote air traffic control operations
- Space-based VHF Technology: Overcomes geographical limitations and comprehensively covers the whole Singapore Flight Information Region (FIR)
- One-Man Pushback Operations: Remote-controlled aircraft pushback air tug for a single person on narrow body aircraft
- Dnata GPS Fleet Management System: Further enhances the management and reliability of ground support equipment
- 3D Printed Cabin Parts: Saves time needed for parts to be transported, storage space for spares, quicker turnaround of aircraft servicing and lower logistics cost by transforming aircraft maintenance,
- Max Airport Programme for PSAs: Frontline Passenger Service Agents (PSAs) will be provided with tablets and portable printers to easily assist passengers in their check-in processes and any payment needs
- Centralised Dishwashing for Changi Airport at Terminal 3: To serve Terminals 1 to 4, as well as Jewel
3. Jobs and Skills
- Aviation-related Courses in ITE: To prepare students for technical ground operations roles, there will be more aviation offerings
- Air Transport Degree: Graduates will be prepared with industry-relevant skills via an undergraduate degree programme in air transport
- Professional Conversion Programme: Enables mid-career entrants into the air transport sector to jump-start their careers
- Drones: To collaborate with end-users and drone companies to test out innovative-use cases for drones.
Mr Ng also highlighted the career journeys of some employee from the aviation fields.
Rama Kerisna, now 70, who joined airport services operator Dnata at the old Paya Lebar site as a security officer in 1979, worked his way up through skills upgrading. From being a services operator, Mr Kerisna is now a ramp trainer, who mentors newcomers and conducting programmes on topics such as human factors and airside safety. He is also certified to conduct training for dangerous goods regulations, and is now pursuing a specialist diploma with the International Air Transport Association, Mr Ng noted.
SATS employee Ang Hock Lye, who joined the ground-handling agent and in-flight services provider as a cargo hand, started out in 1983 lifting and sorting mail bags. Mr Ang is currently undergoing training to operate the automated systems at the AirHub, but now manages three roles into one: as an eHub specialist in charge of forklift drivers, cargo handlers and operations assistants.
“As long as workers are willing to learn, they would have the support to develop a long and meaningful career in the aviation sector,” Mr Ng pointed.
SkillsFuture Study Awards for the air transport sector is a funded scheme provided for workers for retraining and upsizing that air transport employees can also tap on. Besides that, entrants for mid-career workers can also be prepared on new jobs and career progression in the aviation sector through the Professional Conversion Programme, a structured training course.
On top of these, CAAS is also developing a new air transport degree programme at the undergraduate level and exploring options to expand the range of aviation programmes at the Institute of Technical Education to attract the right talent and build capacity for industry.
To smoothen the transition of students into employment in the aviation sector, Temasek Polytechnic students will be offered opportunities for internships and work-study training. The students will start a new part-time diploma in aviation next week.