The maritime sector will introduce fresh measures to attract Singaporeans to advance their careers and boost their skills in seafaring and shore-based areas, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) announced on Friday (Sep 25).
To ensure the industry will continue to be competitive, MPA and partners will come up with fresh measures to deepen the skills and advance the careers of people in the sector.
In the next five years, the Sectoral Tripartite Committee for Transport (Sea) led by MPA hopes to attract more than 1,200 Singaporeans to join the maritime sector as seafarers and port operations officers. Funding for the initiatives will be from the Maritime Cluster Fund and the SkillsFuture budget.
Measures targeting other sub-sectors like ship owning, ship management, and ship agency will be rolled out when ready.
Speaking at the 30th anniversary dinner of the Singapore Shipping Association, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the shipping and marine industry is a key engine of growth for Singapore’s economy.
“We have exciting plans to ensure that Singapore can stay ahead of this competition. For example, we are investing significantly to grow our port capacity ahead of demand by developing a new mega terminal at Tuas. We are also continually sharpening our maritime policies and schemes to meet the evolving needs of the industry.”
PORTAL FOR MARITIME CAREERS
A portal is expected to be set up next year to allow the public to access maritime career opportunities and training-related information. The Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office, to be formed under the Singapore Maritime Foundation, will run the portal.
The MSC Office will also offer maritime-related education and career guidance and help to link the industry with schools for internship and job opportunities. The office will organise outreach events and publicity campaigns as well. MPA will invest S$4 million to support the set-up of MSC over four years.
The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme will be extended to the maritime sector by the second quarter of 2016. The year-long work-study programme for fresh polytechnic graduates will lead to industry recognised certification.
Each Singaporean will get a sign-on incentive of S$5,000 upon successful completion of the programme, and employers who sign up for the programme can get a grant of up to S$15,000 per trainee.
The SkillsFuture Study Awards for the maritime sector will be available from the fourth quarter of this year. The award recipients will receive S$5,000 to help defray the cost of attending work-related training. The SkillsFuture Credit will also be available for the sector – where Singaporeans aged 25 and above can get S$500 to cover fees for a range of work skills-related courses.
TRAINING SINGAPOREANS FOR SEAFARING JOBS
In addition, the MPA has committed S$4 million over the next three years to encourage more Singaporeans to take up a seafaring career and boost their skills.
Under the Cadet Allowance Reimbursement programme, MPA will reimburse companies up to half the monthly allowance for Singaporean cadets who are receiving the certificates of competencies (CoCs) training. Currently, cadets pursuing CoCs as part of their diplomas in nautical studies and marine engineering programmes receive about S$800 from their employers.
A monetary award of up to S$2,000 will be offered to candidates who complete shipboard training to become junior deck and engineering officers. Singaporean seafaring officers with the higher-class CoCs of Class 2 and 1 will get a monetary award of up to S$3,000.
Employers can also tap the Up-skill Allowance Scheme to offer junior seafaring officers a training allowance of up to S$6,000 when they pursue full time CoC 2/1 programmes.
Besides port-related jobs, the committee will aim to identify jobs in other sub-sectors that offer crossover opportunities. A sectoral manpower plan for Transport (Sea) will also be developed with various initiatives to address the manpower challenges in the maritime industry, said MPA.
In addition, the committee will continue to tap other SkillsFuture programmes.
MPA Chief Executive Andrew Tan said: “We see great opportunities within the maritime sector which is growing, for Singaporeans to grow its core, and also to expand the number of opportunities for Singaporeans taking on seafaring as well as shore based jobs itself.
“So, through the tripartite taskforce, we have identified several measures. Basically, as part of SkillsFuture Earn and Learn, we are developing on-the-job training for port operations, for seafarers to leverage on the incentives for them to reach the top of their professions.”
Singapore’s maritime industry employs more than 170,000 people and accounts for about 7 per cent of GDP. Since 2007, a total of S$115 million has been committed to the Maritime Cluster Fund – Manpower Development (MCF-MD) programme, which supports maritime companies in the development of manpower, training initiatives and building capabilities, said MPA. More than 20,000 people have benefited from the programme.
news source & image credits: channelnewsasia.com