WDA to revitalise engineering in ailing manufacturing sector

by Miklos Bolza02 Mar 2016
The Workforce Development Agency (WDA) is about to kick off the Advanced Manufacturing Series – a one year program aimed at deepening the skills of workers in cutting edge technologies and ensuring multinational corporations are ready for the future.
 
“The Advanced Manufacturing Series seeks to help companies adopt manpower-lean technologies, strengthen their capabilities and equip their workforce with the skills to be future-ready,” Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of WDA, said in a statement.
 
Over 400 professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) will have the chance to broaden their skills in manufacturing sectors such as precision engineering, aerospace, marine & offshore engineering, and oil & gas.
 
HRD talked with Ang Chai Soon, director of the WDA’s manufacturing division, about the program.
 
MNCs are welcome to send staff to the program, he began; Indeed, many have already come forward.
 
“WDA has done its sensing with the manufacturing industry and we are seeing MNCs expressing interest in some of the programs under the Advanced Manufacturing Series.”
 
He encouraged employers to send their staff to these masterclasses, workshops and conferences by granting them time off and sponsoring the participation fees.
 
“Registration and other enquiries can be made directly with the strategic partners who are organising various events under the series,” he said.
 
These strategic partners include the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC), Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering (COLE), Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC), Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP).
 
New technological innovations have sparked a new phase of Singapore’s manufacturing sector, Ang said. Hence, it is important for firms to stay up-to-date with these emerging technologies in order to remain relevant.
 
“Through the Advanced Manufacturing Series of masterclasses, workshops and conferences, we can quickly facilitate knowledge transfers from industry experts to the local workforce on the latest technologies, advanced manufacturing techniques and their practical applications,” he said.
 
This move may help make engineering a more attractive career for Singaporeans – fighting negative perceptions which present many obstacles to local MNCs.
 
“One of the challenges in getting Singaporeans interested in engineering careers is that many do not have a clear picture of how jobs have changed in tandem with the introduction of new technologies and exciting career prospects,” Ang explained.
 
It is important to highlight that work environments in manufacturing have evolved, he said. These days, the sector is clean and highly automated involving technical challenges that stretch engineers’ skills and mindsets while solving real world problems.
 
“Going forward, Singapore needs more engineering talents to form the cornerstone of our economy. Hence, it is important that we change perceptions about engineering careers,” he added.
 
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