SINGAPORE - A new committee will look at higher wages and better career progression for lift technicians, in a bid to attract more people to join the industry.
Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee said on Monday (Feb 13) that the Lift and Escalator Sectoral Tripartite Committee, comprising leaders from the public and private sectors, industry associations and trade unions, will help to develop a "training framework to increase the capacity and competency of the sector".
The committee will make their recommendations by the end of the year, he added.
Mr Lee was speaking to 108 Institute of Technical Education scholarship recipients and their families on Monday.
At the ceremony, 14 parties from the government, unions and private sector, also signed a memorandum of understanding to help attract locals to join the sector, by supporting scholarship and sponsorship programmes, job placement programmes and taking part in job fairs.
They also promised to work with industry associations and government agencies to offer attractive jobs, and offer career development and advancement to their staff.
The dearth of lift technicians has come under the spotlight following a spate of lift breakdowns last year.
To cope with this, the Government has rolled out a slew of initiatives: It set up a $450 million Lift Enhancement Programme to modernise lifts over the next 10 years, mandated that town councils set aside 14 per cent of their income for a Lift Replacement Fund, and more recently, issued new grants worth at least $63 million a year for them to tap on.
But industry experts also pointed to the insufficient number of staff - only 2,000 - needed to maintain the 63,000 lifts and 6,000 escalators here as a reason for the breakdowns.
The Building Construction Authority is aiming for 1,000 more technicians to supplement the force over the next three years.