1,000 traineeships and attachments for more Singaporeans, PRs to join maritime sector

SINGAPORE citizens and permanent residents will be able to access 1,000 traineeships, company attachments and training opportunities in the maritime sector in the coming months.

These openings will be in the industry's new growth areas such as automation, digitalisation and supply chain integration.

They are provided by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Workforce Singapore (WSG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), maritime companies and institutes of higher learning.

The opportunities will be available under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Initiative, to support the transformation of the maritime sector, the organisations said in a joint statement on Thursday.

Trainees will pick up skills such as automation systems, data analytics and digital transformation, as well as maritime-specific skill sets such as shipping operations and maritime superintendency.

To meet the industry's longer-term manpower needs, these courses are being developed in consultation with industry stakeholders, including companies in the port, shipping and maritime services and sub-sectors, as well as SSA.

MPA and SSG are collaborating with institutes of higher learning such as Singapore Polytechnic, Singapore Management University and National University of Singapore, with the support of companies including PSA, DNV GL and American Bureau of Shipping.

The training opportunities will be made available progressively in the coming months through the SGUnited Skills Programme and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways - Company Training Programme.

Mid-career individuals can access the company attachments to explore a career in the maritime sector, said WSG chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Choon Shian.

He added that WSG "remains steadfast in helping" the local workforce, as many businesses tackle the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

SSA president Caroline Yang said she's heartened that SSA members are offering attachments to help displaced workers develop digitalisation skills.

But she also hopes more SSA members and the wider maritime community will participate in the traineeship programmes, to better equip the sector to seize new opportunities when the economy upswings.

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs, Chee Hong Tat, said on Thursday that the 1,000 opportunities will be for in-demand skills in the industry and can benefit the trainees even if they later decide to join other sectors.

Speaking at the SMI Forum 2020 by the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), Mr Chee noted: "This is the challenge we have set for ourselves - how to grow Maritime Singapore and create more good jobs for Singaporeans.

"Besides creating new jobs, we must also help our people to develop the skills to take on these jobs in the maritime sector, which welcomes people from different backgrounds and age groups."

Mr Chee had announced 200 places in the sector back in August, before announcing the additional 800 opportunities on Thursday.

MPA CEO Quah Ley Hoon said talent attraction and retention are key in the industry's transformation, as it continues to push ahead with digitalisation and automation.

Ong Tze-Ch'in, CEO of SSG, also pointed out that traditional maritime jobs and the skills needed by workers in the industry have been affected by the acceleration in the use of digital technologies.

On Thursday, Mr Chee also announced that Wong Wen Sun has been reappointed chairman of SMI's board and governing council for a new two-year term starting Jan 1, 2021.