Steps to inject new blood in logistics

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say (second from right) at the Logistics PCP launch yesterday with (from left) Scala academy director Paul Lim; WDA enterprise development group senior director Julia Ng; WDA chief executive Ng Cher Pong; and Scala founding
Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say (second from right) at the Logistics PCP launch yesterday with (from left) Scala academy director Paul Lim; WDA enterprise development group senior director Julia Ng; WDA chief executive Ng Cher Pong; and Scala founding chairman and Singapore National Employers Federation president Robert Yap.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

People from other industries will be assisted to adapt; firms will get help to use technology

To help beat the labour crunch, several initiatives were announced yesterday for the logistics sector to expand its pool of prospective workers and encourage firms to rely more on technology.

The first involves a new place-and-train programme, which will help professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) from other industries join logistics and acquire the necessary skills.

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

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

Scala, which is expected to open in October at the upcoming Supply Chain City in Jurong Innovation District, will run programmes for managers of small and medium-sized enterprises to look at ways to use new technology. It is also working with the Education Ministry to design a curriculum to help students at institutes of higher learning to move into the industry.

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said at the launch event yesterday that the logistics industry is undergoing transformation amid slowing labour force growth.

"Every sector of the economy, including logistics, you will have to compete harder, smarter and better for manpower," he said, speaking at the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar.

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... will be significantly less."

Last year, a study by the authorities identified several emerging roles in the logistics industry, such as innovation and process improvement, with 700 vacancies projected for the industry this year alone.

DHL Express (Singapore) managing director Frank-Uwe Ungerer hopes that the Logistics PCP will help attract people who would not have thought of joining the industry. "They may be highly trained and very experienced in another industry, so we just add industry specifics," he said, adding that the company had about 10 roles to fill.

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

They will finish with an Advanced Certificate in Supply Chain Operations Management from Scala, as well as certification from the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

Including logistics, there are 32 PCPs currently available in 15 industries. This will grow to 20 by 2018 as part of the Adapt and Grow initiative announced in this year's Budget. An annual sum of $40 million will be available over the next two years to fund course fees and salary support for these programmes.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 30, 2016, with the headline 'Steps to inject new blood in logistics'. Print Edition | Subscribe