SINGAPORE - The maritime sector will get a boost with a new $1.2 million programme launched on Tuesday (May 3) to tackle an acute shortage of marine engineers.
The Tripartite Engineering Training Award (Teta) programme was launched by Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say.
Led by the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union (SMOU), it is meant to encourage more Singaporeans to pursue careers as marine engineering officers on commercial ships.
Conducted by SMOU's training arm Wavelink Maritime Institute, it will subsidise cadets' training and secure placements with shipping companies even before they begin.
Speaking at the launch at the Devan Nair Institute, Mr Lim said a Teta graduate can expect to earn a starting pay of $4,033 (US$3,000) a month and look forward to a monthly salary of $9,411 (US$7,000) as a chief engineer.
He added: "I am confident that we will continue to strengthen our tripartite partnerships as we grow the Singaporean core in our maritime sector.
"By working together, we can ensure that the maritime industry will become even more vibrant and remain a key pillar of Singapore's growth."
Cadets will receive training allowances of between $1,200 and $1,400 during the three-year programme, which will include a 15-month stint sailing with a commercial ship.
The pilot programme has nine Singaporeans on board, and SMOU hopes to increase this to 20 next year.
Teta is a joint initiative by SMOU, Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i).
Cadets will have to pay only 10 per cent of the training course fees, with 80 per cent subsidised by e2i and another 10 per cent by SMOU.
Cadet Muhammad Noor Azhar, 23, joined the programme because two of his uncles were ship captains, and often regaled him with tales of how they had manoeuvred their vessels through storms.
Said Mr Azhar, who has a mechanical engineering diploma from Singapore Polytechnic: "I've always had a passion for being at sea. I thought I would not have this chance until I found this programme."