Maritime employers and those working with students and jobseekers in the schools and career centres under Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) had a rare chance to meet and discuss maritime employment issues at the inaugural launch of Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Connexions Forum.
This was a half-day one-of-a-kind event that revealed insights on maritime manpower to plug information gaps on manpower issues facing employers and career coaches managing jobseekers. The event was well-attended by over hundreds of human resource leaders, industry experts, university career centre officers and government agencies.
The MSC Connexions Forum led active dialogue between the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, SkillsFuture Singapore, LinkedIn, two local tertiary institutions and maritime employers.
Given that global trade is set to be centred around Asia and that nearly all of world trade is still delivered by shipping, the need for maritime services and therefore a strong manpower core is vital for the industry.
Companies have been focusing their efforts on developing new knowledge areas such as information technology, data analytics and environmental sustainability in order to remain competitive. Employers have also given feedback that enhancing employees’ soft skills such as problem solving, cognitive and resource management skills would also help drive optimal business performance.
Ms. Elsie Ng, Head of Relationship Management and Public Sector at LinkedIn addressed hiring and employment trends, the demand and supply side of maritime employment and the movement of talent within the sector. Industry experts and those working with students and jobseekers on the career guidance front also had a chance to network after the event, to find out more about the perspective of jobseekers and hiring preferences from their counterparts.
During the panel discussion, Mr. Loh Pui Wah, Director of the Career and Attachment Office at Nanyang Technological University, shared three things for students as regards employment, “First of all, students should look out for jobs that give them good career development and career progression. Students also want to do something meaningful and something in which they can apply their training to. Lastly, they also seek work-life balance.”
Top management leaders also exchanged insightful dialogue on the relevance of internships, employer considerations when hiring candidates and the perception of maritime roles, while MPA took the opportunity to elaborate on various funding platforms for manpower development in the industry to train and encourage local talents.
“For students and mid-career entrants to maritime management, regardless of whether you have a background in maritime studies or not, we hope to broaden the pathways to a rewarding career in the maritime industry. By bridging the information gaps between education and career guidance counsellors and maritime employers, this forum hopes to distil information about the industry’s key learning points on maritime manpower as shared by our partners. In addition, SMF hopes to provide a platform where these two important groups of people have a chance to meet and discuss the opportunities within the maritime industry,” said Mr David Chin, Executive Director of the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) who joined the maritime industry as a shipyard apprentice in 1962.
Forum participants also had a chance to preview the new Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) website which will be fully launched operational in early 2017. It will provide Singaporeans with information on the maritime industry, including but not limited to maritime education, internship opportunities, scholarship programmes, training and career matters.
Maritime employers who register for an account with the MSC website can also profile scholarship and management trainee programmes, publicise career opportunities, and browse the database for their internship and job openings.
By strengthening local maritime capacities and building a pipeline of quality manpower, the industry hopes to support graduates and jobseekers through internships, scholarships and job opportunities to ensure a competitive Maritime Singapore.
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