More local crane operators needed: Khaw Boon Wan

More local crane operators are needed to boost productivity in the construction sector and reduce reliance on foreign workers, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan today.

"Half of the (current 3,600) operators are Singaporeans. But we need more, a few hundreds more, as we ramp up our Build-To-Order programme," he wrote on his blog. One crane is needed for each block under construction.

Mr Khaw said crane operators are crucial for prefabrication construction, a productivity-boosting strategy where building components are made in factories and transported to construction sites. They are then hoisted by cranes for assembly.

"This is a good job with attractive remunerations," said Mr Khaw, noting that the relatively new crane operators can take home $4,000 a month including overtime pay and allowances, with more senior operators getting $6,000 to $7,000 a month.

The Building and Construction Authority's year-long Crane Apprenticeship Programme will begin this month with six apprentices in the inaugural batch.