SINGAPORE - More programmes will be made available to help employees in the air transport sector improve their capabilities.
A new SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) was announced on Monday (Jan 7), the fourth for the sector.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat said during a visit to the SATS in-flight catering centre: "The ELP is an important initiative to support skills upgrading and to ensure our workforce has necessary skills to support industry transformation.
"This will cater to polytechnic students who want to ... go for a specialist diploma.
"Through this programme, they will spend some time working in the company and some time studying."
Mr Chee noted that the combination of learning on the job and the knowledge built up in the classroom "is powerful and is the way to go to have a more highly skilled workforce".
The new ELP gives fresh graduates from polytechnics a head-start in careers related to their discipline. It lets them build on the knowledge acquired in school and supports a move into the workforce.
The 18-month programme leads to a Specialist Diploma in Aviation Management.
It is being undertaken in collaboration with SATS and SIM Global Education and marks the first time a private education institution will deliver an ELP in the air transport sector with industry partners.
Mr Chee added: "This programme is part of the overall SkillsFuture ELP initiatives to try and draw young Singaporeans and to equip them with the skills in the jobs and sectors that are growing.
"In SATS, it is not just in preparing and ground handling of food, but providing efficient supply chains, using technology and combining that with good service and products ... to meet the needs of customers.
"It is a highly complex operation that needs a highly skilled workforce."
The sector's Industry Transformation Map unveiled in April 2017 set a target of increasing productivity by about 40 per cent by 2025 while redesigning or creating 8,000 "good jobs", with more positions for professionals, technicians and cabin crew.
The new ELP starts in October. Suitable candidates will be matched with a job related to their field of study and benefit from structured career development.
Eligible individuals can also receive a sign-on incentive of $5,000. Companies can get a grant of up to $15,000 for each participant to defray the costs of developing and providing structured on-the-job training.
Besides the ELP for fresh graduates, SATS is also rolling out a programme to equip its employees with digital skills.
It will involve helping 3,000 staff members embrace change and gain confidence to adapt in a technology-rich environment.
SATS completed a pilot of the programme last November.
One of the participants was Mr Desmond Tay, 55, a supply officer who maintains the database of SATS procurement systems. His job scope includes testing new technology related to procurement.
He said: "The most important thing was that I learnt to have a positive mindset and I learnt about how technology can enhance efficiency.
"Before the course, I was skeptical about some technology like online banking, but now I have converted to ibanking. It has made me more open-minded."