Logistics sector gets new programme to attract mid-career PMETs

SINGAPORE - A new place and train programme to help professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) convert their skills to those needed by the logistics industry was launched on Wednesday (June 29).

So far, 10 companies large and small are offering over 80 vacancies through the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP), which will begin next month (July). A total of 150 positions for logistics officers and logistics executives will be available over the next two years, in areas such as freight forwarding, fleet operations management, supply chain operations and warehousing and storage.

It will be the first PCP to also include mentoring and coaching for new hires to help them adapt. The Supply Chain and Logistics Academy (Scala), a new training provider whose board of advisors was appointed on Wednesday, will be training the mentors and administering the PCP.

"We want to create a platform to engage...people who have benefited from the industry that are prepared to come in and mentor young entrants to the market or people converting from another industry," said YCH Group executive chairman Robert Yap, who is the founding chairman of the Scala board of advisors.

Scala, which is expected to open in October at the upcoming Supply Chain City in Jurong Innovation District, will also hold a Logistics Innovation and Productivity Programme for managers of small- and medium-sized enterprises to look at ways to use new technology, as well as a Logistics Assimilation Programme for students at institutes of higher learning to move into the industry.

The logistics industry is undergoing transformation and companies will have to make better use of technology and people to achieve sustainable growth, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say at the launch event on Wednesday.

"The Singapore workforce is heading for (close to zero growth) over the next 10 years," he said, speaking at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar. "Every sector of the economy, including logistics, you will have to compete harder, smarter and better for manpower."

To workers, he added: "If you're not prepared to widen the scope of your work and profession, you're going to see yourself having more limited job opportunities, because job growth in the future...will be significantly less."

Several emerging roles in the logistics industry were identified last year through a study by the authorities, including innovation and process improvement, vertical specialists and programme management, with 700 vacancies projected for the industry this year.

The Logistics PCP is a year-long programme. Trainees, who must have a diploma or equivalent qualification and at least one year of work experience in any industry, will go for lessons on Fridays and Saturdays, once a month, as well as on-the-job training and mentorship.

Upon completing the course, they will receive an Advanced Certificate in Supply Chain Operations Management from Scala as well as the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications Statements of Attainment issued by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

There are 32 PCPs now in 15 industries with the addition of logistics, and by 2018, there will be programmes in 20 sectors, as part of the Adapt and Grow initiative announced in this year's Budget.

Earlier this month, Mr Lim announced that an extra $14 million per year has been set aside for two years for the PCP initiative. This means a total of $40 million per year, up from $26 million previously, will be available to fund course fees and salary support through these programmes.

Yang Kee Logistics business development manager Allen Chue, 31, believes the PCP would have helped him make the transition last year from the oil and gas industry, which he left as it seemed to be on the decline. "I've learnt the new skill of how to optimise many different processes to pass the cost savings on to customers," he said. "You have to have a very positive mindset to adapt."