Engineers have a crucial role to play in Singapore’s continued growth and the Government is working to address the shortfall based on feedback from enterprises and other sectors, Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck said.
As of June last year, there were 122,500 professionals hired as engineers, with six in 10 of them Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs), he said.
Mr Teo was responding to questions by Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Lee Bee Wah on Tuesday on the number of Singaporean and foreign engineers working here.
Ms Lee further asked if the Government planned to lead by example and “employ just Singaporeans in government agencies and statutory boards”.
“In the government sector, the majority of our engineers are local. We will always do our best to try to make sure that local engineers are given a fair chance and opportunity to take on positions,” Mr Teo replied in Parliament.
He said the Manpower Ministry is looking to attract more Singapore citizens and PRs to join the engineering profession by “developing more attractive career pathways”, and strengthening the professional recognition and accreditation of engineering skills and expertise.
The sectoral tripartite committees of various engineering sectors are formulating their respective manpower plans to enhance “sectoral competitiveness” and to strengthen the core of Singaporean workers, he added.
The aim is to ensure that engineers continue to stay in the sector, with good human-resource practices, such as good career-progression plans from the enterprises themselves, to identify and invest in their human capital.
In response to Ms Lee’s other question on how many students would be graduating from universities with engineering degrees this year, Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), said in a written reply that with the increased demand for engineers, the number of full-time engineering graduates from Singapore’s autonomous universities has also risen from about 3,700 graduates in 2012 to 4,400 graduates projected this year.
As to how the Ministry of Education (MOE) is coping with the demand for more engineers and to get more students interested in taking up engineering in higher education, Mr Ong said: “Every year, MOE works in close consultation with various economic agencies to ensure that the supply of engineering training places in the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and the autonomous universities is aligned with the demand for manpower by the industry.”
He highlighted certain initiatives taken by educational institutes at various levels, such as the new degree programmes in “sustainable infrastructure engineering and telematics” by the Singapore Institute of Technology, which are targeted at meeting transport engineering needs.
There are also the Applied Learning Programmes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics offered at more than 50 per cent of secondary schools here, where students get to address real-world problems or interact with engineering professionals, for example.
The Science Centre Singapore supports these schools — 64 at the moment — that start these programmes.
news source: todayonline.com