New workshops and events launched to help locals deepen skills in advanced manufacturing

Ms Low Yen Ling shakes hands with a robot during a workshop at the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre.
Ms Low Yen Ling shakes hands with a robot during a workshop at the Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - Employers in the manufacturing sector who are looking to deepen their workers' skills in advanced technologies will be able to sign them up for a new series of masterclasses, workshops and conferences rolled out this year.

Announced by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) on Monday (Feb 22), the topics under the Advanced Manufacturing Series will cover areas such as advanced robotics and automation, additive manufacturing, and optical and laser engineering.

More than 400 technical managers, engineers, assistant engineers, product designers and technical specialists from both smaller companies and multinational corporations are expected to be able to attend.

The events will be run by five institutes which signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with WDA on Monday. They are:

- The Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*Star's) Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre

- A*Star's Institute of High Performance Computing,

- The Nanyang Technological University's (NTU's) Centre for Optical and Laser Engineering,

- NTU's Singapore Centre for 3D Printing

- Nanyang Polytechnic

Demand for the series will be reviewed after the first year to see if the programmes will be continued. WDA will fund up to 70 per cent of the course fees for Singapore citizens and Permanent Residents, and up to 90 per cent if they are from small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Education, said at the MOU signing ceremony that Singapore must keep abreast of global trends such as 3D printing and the Internet of Things.

"Besides investing in advanced manufacturing capabilities to upgrade our companies, we also need to invest in upskilling our people," she added.

"This will enable our workforce to take advantage of the new and exciting job opportunities in advanced manufacturing, which will require specialised, cutting-edge skills."

For example, in remanufacturing for the aerospace industry - which reduces waste by allowing parts to be repaired and reused instead of being replaced - robotics software engineers and workers, who can optimise production chains from market to manufacturing floor, are needed, said Adjunct Professor Tan Sze Wee, executive director of the Science and Engineering Research Council at A*Star.

"We hope to attract Singaporeans to look at engineering as an exciting career," he said.

The manufacturing sector contributes about one fifth of Singapore's gross domestic product and employs over 500,000 workers.

joseow@sph.com.sg