'Robo-grasscutter' being used in bid to draw more locals to landscaping sector

The familiar sight of grasscutters fanning out across a field with their motorised blades could soon be a thing of the past, with the introduction of a remote-controlled mower that can cover five times more area in the same time.

Landscaping company Ho Eng Huat Construction is the first in Asia to use the machine which they brought in with the help of funding by the Employment and Employability Institute or e2i to increase productivity. They are also now using a new multi-purpose machine that can do both excavation and tree pruning work.

In return, the company has upped the wages of 12 of its local employees, who are being trained to use the new machines, by 13 per cent.

Chief executive of e2i Gilbert Tan said: "We're always interested to find ways to make jobs easier, and once these jobs are upgraded, for them to pay better."

Ho Eng Huat Construction's managing director Neo Say Hwee said that he hoped the new technology, improved productivity and higher wages would encourage more Singaporeans to join the landscaping sector.

Mr Tan said that e2i would use every opportunity to encourage other landscaping companies here to improve their productivity further.

Last month, the National Parks Board launched a $3.9 million grant to help landscaping companies buy machines to cut labour needs and boost their productivity.