SINGAPORE - Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, in a new blog post on Saturday (Nov 21), has proposed setting up a "National Rail Academy" to improve the training of Singapore's rail sector.
"As rail technology continues to evolve and improve, our rail engineers have to keep up. Every new line and every new train must do better than their predecessors," wrote Mr Khaw in the post titled "Deepening Capabilities".
"This way, we keep our train systems and fleet up-to-date, more reliable, easier to maintain, safer and more cost-effective to operate."
Mr Khaw, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, stressed that rail engineers will need to continue to learn and re-learn their skills.
He cited the efforts made by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), tertiary institutes and rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit to improve on this aspect.
For instance, Singapore Polytechnic launched a new part-time diploma programme in Engineering (Rapid Transit Technology) earlier this year, while the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) introduced the Higher NITEC in Rapid Transit Engineering in April.
Besides working with the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University to include rail engineering in their undergraduates' final year engineering modules, Mr Khaw said he intends to rapidly expand training programmes in this sector.
"We need a step-jump in training capacity for the rail sector if we are to have enough skilled engineers and technicians," he added.
Mr Khaw also revealed that he had floated the idea of the academy to the Public Transport Tripartite Committee, as a way to amalgamate the different training programmes to offer more dedicated training.
"The Academy will signal the Government's concerted and determined approach to build up and deepen rail capabilities," he concluded.
Read his full blog post here.