SINGAPORE: A new certification for bus technicians and specialists has been launched to recognise their skills and standardise training in the sector.
The first batch of students, who graduated on Tuesday (Aug 28), comprised of 19 technicians from four operators.
To engage students better and deepen their understanding, the course consists of augmented reality elements and hands-on coursework.
For example, instead of working on a full bus model, as previously done, students now get to study the chassis of a bus in isolation. They also get to see the inside of how an engine works with the help of augmented reality classrooms.
The certification supports the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map and the Skills Framework for Public Transport, both of which were launched in the first half of this year.
The frameworks are focused on reskilling and upskilling workers in the bus sector. More than 900 bus technicians and engineers currently working in the industry will be recognised under the framework.
Bus technicians can be certified under three levels of expertise - Technical Specialist, Senior Technical Specialist and Master Technical Specialist.
The certification will be conducted twice a year, and will be conferred by the Land Transport Authority and the Institute of Engineers. Training and assessment will be conducted by the Singapore Bus Academy (SBA).
The curriculum was created in consultation with experts from the industry. Previously, individual bus operators conducted their own training.
At the launch, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said: "With newer technology adoption, such as electric and autonomous buses, such centralisation of training delivery helps to optimise resources, and ensures consistent delivery of core essential knowledge and skills."
At the same time, the SBA is holding a bridging course for technicians who are new to the industry, and as a refresher for experienced technicians.
The courses are run from the new Bus Technical Specialist Certification Centre in Ulu Pandan Bus Depot.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, National Transport Workers' Union Executive Secretary Melvin Yong said the launch of the certification would help enhance bus technical professionals' skills and job mobility.
In addition, the new certification centre also plays an important role in "ensuring that our bus technical professionals' skills continue to be relevant amidst changes brought about by the onset of electric and autonomous vehicles", he said.
Mr Yong added that the union would continue to work closely with public transport operators and industry partners and send bus professionals for certification.