Over 350 launch second careers in pharmaceuticals, biologics under job conversion programmes: Iswaran

More than 350 people have benefited from the Professional Conversion Programmes for the pharmaceuticals and biologics sectors since their launch in 2014.
More than 350 people have benefited from the Professional Conversion Programmes for the pharmaceuticals and biologics sectors since their launch in 2014.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - More than 350 people have benefited from the Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) for the pharmaceuticals and biologics sectors since their launch in 2014, said Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran.

The PCPs, jointly developed by Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), help mid-career professionals reskill and acquire the necessary knowledge and competencies to take on jobs in different or adjacent sectors.

Speaking at the opening of AbbVie's biologics manufacturing facility on Wednesday (Oct 5), Mr Iswaran cited 37-year-old Ong Shin Ran as one of the PCP participants undergoing training as a bio-technologist with AbbVie.

Mr Ong previously worked as a manager in the marine and offshore industry for six years.

"The PCP's comprehensive curriculum and structured on-the-job training will equip Shin Ran with the skill sets needed for product and process improvements for the pharmaceutical industry," said Mr Iswaran.

The Government, for its part, remains committed to ensuring that Singaporeans are equipped with the relevant skills to benefit from emerging opportunities, and will continue to partner the industry to train and upskill people, he added.

Mr Iswaran noted that AbbVie's new biologics manufacturing facility in Tuas South Avenue 6 is a "timely" investment, as ageing populations, growing healthcare demand and technological changes are shifting healthcare paradigms.

The facility, together with a small molecule manufacturing facility which commenced commercial production earlier this year, represents a combined investment of S$400 million by AbbVie. Both have created a total of over 200 jobs across roles such as supply chain management, technical operations and manufacturing in Singapore.

"The rise in healthcare expenditure will be driven by the emerging and lower income markets, as well as the expansion of services in developed countries. Technology will allow healthcare providers to engage patients more effectively, and enable the centre of healthcare delivery models to shift from the hospital to the community," said Mr Iswaran.

At the same time, technologies such as additive manufacturing and industrial Internet-of-Things are also changing the nature of manufacturing, he said, noting that firms that successfully leverage advanced manufacturing technologies can achieve significant productivity gains and differentiate themselves from the competition.

"While these shifts will disrupt existing business models, they also present significant new opportunities," said Mr Iswaran.

"Hence, it is essential that we adopt a forward-looking approach, and work closely with our people and industry partners to seize the opportunities that lie ahead."

He added that Singapore will continue to invest in innovation and work closely with the industry to strengthen its competitiveness. Under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan, for instance, the Government will be invest S$4 billion in health and biomedical sciences and another S$3.2 billion in advanced manufacturing and engineering.