With Singapore’s rail network set to double in length to over 360km by 2030, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has launched the Public Transport Manpower Development Fund worth $12.5 million to help attract and groom talent in the industry. Over the next three years, it will be used to develop industry-relevant courses, sponsor study awards, and set up new training facilities.
Announcing the fund on 9 Nov 2015, Transport Senior Minister of State (SMS) Josephine Teo said Singapore's rail expansion must be supported by an "equally determined effort to build up the core of local talents", where manpower is needed to "design, develop, operate and maintain a system that is not just comprehensive, but highly reliable".
SMS Teo said the Government has partnered with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and universities to develop courses for students and mid-career professionals. Two such courses are already under way - an ITE Higher Nitec in rapid transit engineering, and a part-time Diploma in Engineering (rapid transit technology) by Singapore Polytechnic (SP). Next year, SP and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) will launch a SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn programme for rapid transit technology to be offered to all Nitec and Higher Nitec engineering graduates.
Students and professionals will also be able to apply for study awards and training grants for rail-related courses. LTA said up to $2 million is expected to be disbursed every year to benefit some 450 people.
With the current workforce in the public bus and rail sector at about 19,000 strong, LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong said he is targeting between 200 and 300 rail engineers, and 600 to 700 train technicians to join the industry annually for the next 15 years. Both SBS Transit and SMRT welcomed the new fund.
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Source: “$12.5m fund to groom talent in transport” (The Straits Times, 10 Nov 2015)