PM Lee launches Singapore's second skills training centre in India

UDAIPUR - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong launched a tourism skills training centre in the tourist city of Udaipur on Thursday (Oct 6), Singapore's second in India.

PM Lee, who is in India on a five-day working visit, witnessed the unveiling of a plaque and the planting of a sapling by Acting Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje.

The Centre of Excellence for Tourism Training is scheduled to begin operations later this year and will have an annual intake of 480 students. It will offer up to six courses including retail services, hospitality operations and culinary arts.

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Skills development is a key area of cooperation between Singapore and India, and the Udaipur centre is one of three that Singapore's Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is helping to start in India. The first, the World Class Skill Centre in New Delhi, is already running, and another is being planned in the state of Assam in the North East.

Singapore has some expertise in the area of skills training, which India finds useful, Mr Ong told reporters.

"Our value is in designing the curriculum, providing consultancy, while the state sets up the infrastructure for training," he said.

Various states in India have been approaching Singapore to set up skills development centres throughout India, he said, adding that whether more are on the cards depends on the state governments.

Mr Ong also drew parallels between India's national campaign Skill India, which seeks to train 400 million people in skills by 2022, and Singapore's SkillsFuture initiative which aims to develop a deep mastery of skills relevant to jobs in Singaporeans.

There is a global trend towards "greater realisation that it's really your skills, your competency, that will make you valuable to industries and employers," he said.

"So governments around the world are pushing skills training because with competence... we can secure good employment," he added.

Earlier in the morning, PM Lee also received a call by Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and witnessed the signing of two memoranda of understanding on tourism and urban solutions, and to train tourism officials.

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