S'pore aerospace industry to offer 1,000 jobs over next 2 years: Tan See Leng

Singapore has remained a strong base of aerospace activities and companies have been exploring new avenues of growth.
Singapore has remained a strong base of aerospace activities and companies have been exploring new avenues of growth.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Aerospace companies in Singapore are looking to fill some 1,000 positions over the next two years, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng on Monday (Oct 11).

The jobs are in areas such as digital services and autonomous technologies, and include data analysts, robotics and automation engineers and aircraft technicians.

Dr Tan, who is also Manpower Minister, noted that travel bans and border restrictions worldwide have grounded plans and drastically reduced demand for commercial air travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. The aerospace industry, which predominantly supports commercial aviation, has been hit especially hard, he said.

However, Singapore has remained a strong base of aerospace activities, and companies have been exploring new avenues of growth, he added at the launch of the third Aerospace Day - an industry showcase organised by JTC and its partners.

"As we emerge from the pandemic, the aviation industry will rebound," Dr Tan said. "The longer-term outlook for the aerospace sector is positive."

He said aerospace companies in Singapore are looking to hire talent to seize opportunities in these areas.

Examples include American aerospace giant Pratt and Whitney, which is recruiting 250 workers for its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) operations in Singapore.

GE Aviation is looking to fill 200 positions this year, while home-grown company Singapore Aero Engine Services (Saesl) has 170 vacancies for its growing MRO operations - 100 for technicians and 70 for new trainees.

Dr Tan also identified three long-term growth areas - digital services, autonomous flight systems and sustainable aircraft propulsion - that aerospace companies have already begun pursuing in Singapore.

Aerospace companies like Airbus are developing digital services such as big data analytics to monitor aircraft health, predict maintenance schedules, optimise fuel consumption, and minimise on-ground delays.

"This will help airlines and passengers save time and costs," he said.

Meanwhile, local start-up H3 Dynamics partnered with French conglomerate Thales to test an autonomous drone flight monitoring system in Singapore's urban environment.

As for sustainable propulsion, Nanyang Technological University and Rolls-Royce are working together on electrification technologies to enable hybrid-electric aircraft, he said.

Aerospace Day, held virtually for the first time this year, is organised by JTC together with aerospace companies, institutes of higher learning, the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) and the Employment and Employability Institute.

The event is a platform for aerospace companies to recruit skilled employees.

In a statement on Monday, JTC said the event attracted 1,800 students and job seekers.

Exclusive tours of aerospace companies in Seletar Aerospace Park will be held at the end of the year to show students the working environment behind the scenes. Details on the tours will be announced later.

Saesl chief executive Simon Middlebrough said Aerospace Day sends a robust collective signal of the local industry’s recovery, despite being highly exposed to the international long-haul segment, which was hit hardest by Covid-19.

“(Aerospace Day) generates a lot more interest than just one company going out and saying ‘we need 100 people’.”

In addition to the company's 170 hires, he said, the MRO service provider would need about 100 new hires each year for the next three to five years to manage growth and the inherent attrition in the industry.

“I foresee Saesl back to full rate next year and then growing from there,” he said.