The latest industry transformation map (ITM) for the marine, offshore, and engineering industry (M&OE) unveiled by Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran on Thursday (Feb 22). Charted out by a multi-agency team led by the Economic Development Board (EDB), the roadmap aims to revamp the struggling M&OE sector by generating 1,500 new jobs and $5.8 billion of value-add by the next seven years.
In an official statement, the EDB acknowledged that a collapse in oil prices in 2014 has triggered prolonged downturn that led to Singapore’s M&OE industry facing hard periods over the past three years. However, the industry remains a key component that supports the country’s economy. It has contributed $3.6 billion, or about 1 percent, to the country’s gross domestic product. The sector has also generated $12.3 billion to its total manufacturing output and absorbed more than 23,000 local workforce, Straits Times reports.
Working with associations and unions, the government has introduced measures to support industry players through the downturn. Two schemes, named Spring Singapore’s Bridging Loan (BL) and IE Singapore’s enhanced Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS) have brought nearly $700 million in loans to more than 100 unique borrowers, in which 80 percent goes for small and medium-sized enterprises. New initiative was also made to reskill employees affected by the downturn to help them find employment for new job roles in the same industry or adjacent industries.
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There are three key thrusts that become the focus of the M&OE ITM, including to prepare for the future through innovation and productivity improvements, pursue new growth areas, as well as equip Singaporeans with relevant skills. The government also helps companies invest in advanced manufacturing, including additive manufacturing, robotics and automation to ensure that MO&E industry can stay competitive in the global market.
Furthermore, help will be extended to companies seeking entry into adjacent segments that are still seeing expansion. Besides oil and gas sector, the liquefied natural gas and offshore wind sectors are noted to be among two potentially new target segments for M&OE industry players. The EDB noted that global expenditure on LNG may exceed US$280 billion by 2021, while the global offshore wind market is anticipated to breach US$130 billion by 2023.
The ITM also outlined efforts to help individuals navigate through the career paths and reskill to pursue opportunities in the evolving MO&E industry. The initiatives include the Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore and SkillsFuture Series. The Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore developed jointly by government agencies and industry stakeholders has charted out seven career tracks in the industry. It covers 29 job roles and identifies 96 existing and emerging technical skills and competencies.
Meanwhile, the SkillsFuture Series features short and modular courses such as advanced manufacturing and data analytics. These courses offer training in skills projected to be in demand in an increasingly digitalised and automated M&OE industry.
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