In an effort to improve the training of rail workers in Singapore, the Government will introduce a S$100mil Rail Manpower Development Package (RMDP) to reduce the operating costs of rail companies.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced at a transport workers’ appreciation event last Fri that RMDP will become the main source of training funds for MRT and LRT in the next five years.
“Operators are financially not the most healthy at the moment… In order not to hold back such investments, the Government, through the Land Transport Authority (LTA), will co-invest.
“That way, the worker will have the tools to do what is necessary to raise their productivity and do their job better… The bottom line is we want to improve service levels for the commuters,” said Khaw.
RMDP, according to LTA, was co-developed with rail operators and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) as a “coordinated effort” to ensure that training programmes remain up to date with rail workers’ needs, in addition to opening the pathway for investments in hardware equipment such as simulators and virtual reality tools.
NTWU executive secretary Melvin Yong lauded the Government’s move, stating that the new plan had partially came into fruition due to the union’s efforts in pushing for greater investment in manpower training.
“We recognise that the rail operators face (the) significant challenge of balancing heavy investments in maintenance with manpower training … [But] a world class public transport system requires a world class public transport workforce,” he said.
Highlighting that 1,500 SBS Transit workers across 16 job positions will be receiving new training as a result of the package, SBS Transit chief operating officer Cheng Siak Kian said his company has already identified seven key areas in the plan, which include robotics and automation application.
SMRT Trains chief executive officer Lee Ling Wee said that the plan, which he called a “great booster” for its workers, will enable the company’s rail staff to “continuously upgrade their skills to be an important part of this growing industry”.