Three new Earn and Learn Programmes launched for the maritime sector

SINGAPORE - Christina Tan Shi Hui, 20, has no qualms about joining the traditionally male-dominated maritime industry. She firmly believes her abilities will be of greater importance and hopes to one day captain her own ship.

But the current 4th officer at shipping company Pacific International Lines decided to take up the seafaring deck officer course, one of the three new SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes (ELP) launched for the maritime sector at the PSA building on Friday (June 24).

The other two programmes are for port operations officers and seafaring marine engineers.

The three ELPs aim to give fresh graduates from local polytechnics a head-start in their maritime careers by deepening their skills through facilitated training, in-house structured programmes and mentorship with industry partners.

Said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo at the launch: "The port of Singapore is the world's busiest container transhipment hub with connectivity to 600 ports globally... For us to stay ahead as a leading hub port, it is vital that we invest in our youth and attract them to join the maritime workforce."

Jointly developed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Workforce Development Agency and Singapore Polytechnic, trainees will undergo a more intensive programme which puts their time spent out at sea to better use, accelerates the learning process, and motivate those that require more structure in their learning.

To celebrate the Day of the Seafarer on Saturday (June 25), MPA, together with the Singapore Maritime Officers' Union and the Singapore Organisation of Seamen, also presented some 600 hampers to ships that called at Singapore's port on Friday. The hampers include travel tools that add comfort to visitors' voyages.

Mr Neo Boon Hou, 29, a trainee of the Port Operations Officer course, hopes the programme will help him in his bid to take on executive roles at PSA in the future. "It is not a deskbound job, and I get to see different things and work with different people. I really like the job," he said.