SINGAPORE – A door has opened for about 14,000 enterprises across 100 industrial estates in Singapore to up their game in such areas as attracting talent and upskilling their existing workforce.
New pacts were inked on Wednesday (Jan 15) for them to work more closely with institutes of higher learning (IHL), government agencies and other stakeholders to boost their business.
The new initiative, called Industry Connect, is spearheaded by industrial landlord JTC Corporation and a key aim is to give a leg-up to the manufacturing sector, which has been rocked by uncertainty in the past year amid the trade war between China and the United States.
But the first to benefit will probably be small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the foodstuff, logistics, precision engineering, offshore and marine industries, as JTC rolls out the initiative progressively to other sectors.
A memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), all five Polytechnics, Workforce Singapore (WSG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and National Trades Union Congress’ e2i (Employment and Employability Institute).
The partnership is the first project to come under Industry Connect, which was launched on Wednesday at Seletar Aerospace Park.
Students from these IHLs will be exposed to relevant job opportunities through open houses, factory tours and industry talks held in JTC estates.
In turn, businesses can identify skilled talent early by giving the students project challenges to solve, and offering internships and job opportunities.
For instance, in a previous pilot programme, six SMEs from Tampines Industrial Park sought new solutions from Temasek Polytechnic students in a hackathon. It generated encouraging responses, with some of the companies planning to adopt these solutions.
The partnership also helps the SMEs to improve the skills of their workers by holding industry-relevant training programmes on-site in JTC estates.
The programmes will be curated by SSG, WSG and e2i.
A second MOU was signed with the Association of Aerospace Industries Singapore (AAIS), ITE, all five Polytechnics and e2i to extend talent outreach initiative, which was started in 2018, for another four years.
JTC chief executive Ng Lang said the new move consolidates the pilot programmes undertaken by JTC in the past two years.
He said: “To date, we have engaged more than 300 businesses in our estates on technology adoption and over 3,000 students have benefited from learning journeys, and project and internship opportunities.”
He added: “We hope that (Industry Connect) can create an extra layer of value to our network of over 14,000 businesses.”
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who was also at the event, said: “We know the nature of manufacturing is changing… and when companies and schools work together to bring training and internships, our young people can make full use of these new opportunities and jobs we’re offering.”
Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Engineering deputy director William See said the new initiative will help the students to understand the variety of jobs available in their chosen fields.
He said: “Many young people may not end up in jobs they are trained for, perhaps due to their perception of the industry or the lack of awareness of the job opportunities they have so this is a fantastic platform to bring it to the students.”