Workforce grew in tandem with industry transformation

Office workers and pedestrians crossing the road at Raffles Place.
Office workers and pedestrians crossing the road at Raffles Place.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Liu Fook Thim for his letter (Re-engineer established industries to help PMETs, Feb 19).

We want to assure Mr Liu that we want the same things he does for Singaporeans - good jobs and opportunities. This has always been the Singapore Economic Development Board's mission.

And so from an economy that manufactured matches, fish hooks and mosquito coils in the 1960s, we grew industrial clusters in electronics and petrochemicals in the 1980s, and later added new clusters in biomedical, aerospace and modern services.

Our local businesses grew as they integrated themselves into the supply chains and built their own capabilities. Our workers grew in skills and experience, and moved into new jobs and industries. That is how our lives improved generation after generation.

We have to continue creating good jobs and opportunities for our workers and businesses. To do that, we cannot afford a stagnant and static economy, because other countries can catch up and displace our businesses and jobs.

We have to keep our economy one step ahead, constantly upgrading our skills, adopting the latest technologies and developing new industries.

That is why we must not only re-engineer established industries as Mr Liu suggests, but also grow new industries on the back of existing ones.

We are confident that Singaporeans will continue to have good jobs and opportunities. When we grew new industry clusters like mobility, Internet of Things, and biomedical sciences, our workers could take on these new jobs because of their experience in the electronics, petrochemicals and wafer fabrication industries.

We also work with employers, SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore to support professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) in upgrading their skills.

Through the Professional Conversion Programmes under the Adapt and Grow Initiative, we help PMETs to move into new industries.

From 2016 to 2018, over 76,000 job seekers found employment through the Adapt and Grow initiative.

Praveen Randhawa (Ms)

Director, Public Affairs

Singapore Economic Development Board