Josephine Teo: WSG will boost worker retraining efforts to revitalise electronics sector

In this age of surplus gadgets and devices, there is constant change in the world of electronics.

On Thursday (30 Jan), Josephine Teo, the Minister for Manpower remarked that in order to accelerate reskilling efforts to benefit firms and workers, Workforce Singapore (WSG) will work together with the Singapore Semiconductor Industry Association (SSIA) as well as other industry stakeholders.

WSG pointed out that even though sectors like consumer electronics is reeling from the impact, fields such as autonomous vehicles, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence still present opportunities.

Ms Teo spoke to employers at the SSIA Lunar New Year dinner: “As our economy restructures, it is a good time for companies to capitalise on this period of moderate growth to build up internal mobility and capabilities…Doing so will help to prepare yourself to harness new opportunities in the longer run, by training up and reskilling your workers and new mid-career hires today for tomorrow.” Government support will also be available to realise this goal.


In the current Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) for electronics assistant engineers and electronics engineers, the training capacity will be enlarged. Since the inception of the programmes in November 2016, close to 900 local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) have been hired and retrained by 30 small and medium-sized enterprises and multinational corporations, Ms Teo noted.

One of the beneficiaries of this policy is Effandi bin Sajari, 47. He underwent the retraining programme and is now a senior associate engineer at Globalfoundries, a semiconductor firm, after joining the semiconductor industry in 2019. Mr Effandi had been working in the power sector for 19 years before this.

As a senior associate engineer, he maintains optimal levels of pressure, humidity and temperature for wafer fabrication by managing cleanroom equipment.

Earning 10 per cent more than his old job, Mr Effandi commented that “through the programme, I learnt how to manage the tools involved in the cleanroom.”

In addition to this, WSG and SSIA have also commenced a pilot phase for the Place-and-Train Programme for electronics operators, Ms Teo stated.

Benefits from the three-month programme are expected to accrue to an additional 1,000 more PMETs beginning from November 2019 with new or enhanced job roles such as technical support, production, automation and integration, research and development and facilities management.

For a start, the pilot will target to benefit around 50 rank-and-file jobseekers, but if demand increases the scale could be enlarged, Ms Teo added.

WSG aims to contribute to the building of a resilient workforce imbued with the capabilities and skills that will benefit the electronics industry in the future, WSG chief executive Tan Choon Shian remarked.

Mr Tan also stressed that “We also encourage employers to cast their sights further upstream and be ready to harness the opportunities when the eventual upturn arrives.”

DenseLight Semiconductors is one of the companies who sent their workers to undergo the PCP. Its president and chief executive, Rajan Rajgopal, agreed that mid-career PMETs who wish to develop further will benefit the firm: “That’s where the PCP comes in – it is meant for people who already have experience, but perhaps just in a different field. With the retraining, it could help them channel their experience and willingness to learn into the industry, and become a productive contributor to the company,” he concluded.

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