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‘Masterclasses’ in advanced manufacturing techniques launched

The programme aims to help companies in sectors like precision engineering and aerospace build capabilities in emerging technologies and develop a future-ready workforce. 

SINGAPORE: More than 400 Professionals, Managers and Executives (PMEs) will have the opportunity to deepen their skills in advanced manufacturing techniques through a series of customised “masterclasses” announced on Monday (Feb 22).

A collaboration between the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and five strategic partners, the series is targeted at small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) as well as multinational corporations in sectors like precision engineering, marine and offshore engineering and aerospace.

The programme aims to help them build capabilities in emerging technologies and develop a future-ready workforce, by helping PMEs gain insight into areas such as advanced robotics and automation, additive manufacturing, big data analytics and computing, optical and laser engineering and advanced materials.

It aims to cater to a wide audience - from management executive to engineers, product designers and technical specialists - and will be rolled out progressively over a year.

Training will be provided by WDA's partners, including Nanyang Polytechnic, as well as centres and institutes under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The group signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday.

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, who was present at the signing ceremony, said Singapore needs to constantly keep up with the latest technological trends in order to remain a key global player in manufacturing.

"Manufacturing is a key pillar of our economy, contributing a fifth of our GDP, and hires at least half a million of our workers," she said. "The Advanced Manufacturing Series will really allow our workers to understand what are the knowledge and skill sets that they need to equip themselves with to allow them to take on key positions in the advanced manufacturing sector."

She noted that countries such as Germany and China have embarked on programmes aimed at building such capabilities in their respective local industries.

"(The) WDA and sectoral lead agencies have consulted with industries to identify potentially game-changing technologies that companies can deploy, for example advanced robotics, additive manufacturing and data analytics. They are also working on sectoral manpower plans for sectors such as aerospace, marine and precision engineering," said Ms Low.

"The aim here really is to train a pipeline of highly-skilled and future-ready talent in these sectors, to enable our companies to maximise new growth opportunities."

"What you see of the manufacturing of the future, where there's a lot more use of data and also analytics in the way we control and simulate activities as well ... a lot of this will require the development of new know-how and new techniques to continue to position Singapore as an advanced hub for manufacturing activities," added Professor Tan Sze Wee, executive director of the Science and Engineering Research Council at A*STAR.

Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents will be eligible for WDA subsidies of up to 70 per cent, going up to 90 per cent if they are employed in an SME. WDA will also review the programmes with its partners, one year after each begins.