More targeted support for automation efforts in service industry

SINGAPORE - Robots are not just for factories - the service sector can also tap on funding to incorporate more robotics and automation technology in their businesses, employers were told on Monday.

The Devan Nair Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Singapore Industrial Automation Association (SIAA) on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding which aims to provide more training for workers to learn to manage new technology. This may include developing new diploma courses, masterclasses and product-specific training.

More events such as seminars, visits and consultation will also be organised, and the organisations hope to reach 30 companies in the next two years. The aim is to raise awareness about the funding support of up to 50 per cent for equipment and up to 90 percent for automation training under the Inclusive Growth Programme and other training funds.

National Trades Union Congress deputy secretary-general Chan Chun Sing told some 200 employers at the event at e2i that Singapore's service sector can do more to utilise technology in their operations.

"How competitive we are as a small economy depends on how fast we innovate," he said.

SIAA president Oliver Tian said that the workforce needs new skillsets to use new automation tools. "The automation of intelligence and breathing some logic into the machines will also require the workforce to re-establish our expectations and upgrade our service levels," he said.