New PMET training programme to build talent for Asia's growing infrastructure sector

A government-led programme is now in place to match and train mid-career professionals with firms in the infrastructure sector.

The initiative is part of efforts to help Singapore businesses capture the growing regional demand for infrastructure.

The Professional Conversion Programme for Global Ready Infrastructure Talent, launched yesterday, is aimed at developing professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) with deep skills in areas such as financing and engineering for global infrastructure projects. It is spearheaded by IE Singapore in partnership with Workforce Singapore (WSG).

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said: "Through partnerships with both local enterprises and multinational corporations based in Singapore, the programme will equip individuals with project development skills through on-the-job training, and help nurture a pipeline of local talent who can better support our companies' overseas infrastructure projects."

He told the Asia-Singapore Infrastructure Roundtable in Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre that participants of the programme can also expect to gain exposure to international projects as part of training.

A total of 12 companies have committed to take in 30 PMET candidates since the soft launch of the programme as a pilot in the second quarter of this year, Mr Iswaran said.

IE Singapore, citing data from the Asian Development Bank, said: "With Asia requiring $2.3 trillion of infrastructure investments annually from last year to 2030, there are many business opportunities, with corresponding demand for supporting professional services.

"However, based on IE Singapore's 2016 Internationalisation Survey, Singapore companies face the lack of talent with global experience and specific skill sets."

The programme aims to address this problem by supporting companies that are keen to recruit mid-career PMETs from other sectors and train them in areas of financing, legal, engineering consultancy and advisory for infrastructure projects, said IE Singapore.

It is aimed at individuals who have graduated for at least two years, and will provide a structured on-the-job training programme for up to 18 months, while exposing participants to global projects.

The programme is applicable for companies across the infrastructure value chain, including banks, project financing firms, infrastructure companies and advisory firms. WSG will subsidise up to 70 per cent of the salary for newly hired trainees, capped at $4,000 a month.

IE Singapore chief executive Lee Ark Boon, who also spoke at the event, said: "Singapore must leverage our strengths in planning, engineering, financial and legal services to capture Asia's tremendous infrastructure opportunities, particularly through the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Through the (programme), we will partner local enterprises to build local talents with specific, customised skill sets to help companies embark on infrastructure projects overseas."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2017, with the headline 'New scheme to train PMETs for infrastructure sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe