MANPOWER constraints are expected across all sectors due to Singapore's demographic changes and the keen competition for talent, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat on Monday.
With little relief in sight, companies will need to step up their business transformation through both technology and skills upgrading, he added.
"Technology alone is not enough, because you also need a skilled workforce," he told reporters on the sidelines of a company visit to SATS in-flight catering centre.
"The application of technology to transform business operations and the upgrading of skills of the workers to then do these higher-level jobs well - I think that's a powerful combination."
He lauded the gateway and food solutions provider for its efforts on both fronts: "I like the way SATS is approaching it - technology-driven, but people-led."
It was during the visit that he unveiled a SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) by SATS and SIM Global Education to equip polytechnic graduates with the skills required for jobs in the air transport sector - the fourth for the sector.
The 18-month work-learn programme will start in October and lead to a Specialist Diploma in Aviation Management.
To address the talent needs in the sector, participants will be trained in critical skills such as design thinking, project management skills for business innovation and business analytics skills for decision making.
Upon completion, they can expect to become air transport officers, supporting areas such as ground operations, management and business functions.
This is the first time a private education institution is jointly curating content and delivering an ELP in the air transport sector with industry partners.
On top of being able to recruit fresh local talent, companies can get a grant of up to S$15,000 for each participant to defray the costs of developing and providing structured on-the-job training.
Mr Chee pointed out that the programme is part of a slew of SkillsFuture initiatives to draw young Singaporeans into jobs and sectors that are growing, and to equip them for careers in these areas.
"In SATS, it is not just preparing and ground handling of food, but providing efficient supply chains, using technology and combining that with good service and products ... to meet the needs of customers," he said.
"It is a highly complex operation that needs a highly skilled workforce."
The air transport sector's Industry Transformation Map unveiled in April 2017 set a target of increasing productivity by about 40 per cent by 2025 while redesigning or creating 8,000 "good jobs", with more positions for professionals, technicians and cabin crew.