Career plans launched for marine and offshore engineering

Plans offer structured progression pathway in terms of wages, skills and job roles

Two Career Development Plans were launched yesterday to attract local talent to the marine and offshore engineering industry.

The plans, which target drafting specialists and quality professionals, will provide a structured progression pathway in terms of wages, skills and job roles.

The announcement came during the Marine Week Symposium 2021, a hybrid event on opportunities in the industry.

Candidates under the plans will undergo predetermined training and pick up skill sets directly relevant to their job roles, boosting productivity for the industry. This also means they can receive pay that is based on their skill levels. The tiered approach will help workers progressively build up skills and experience from entry-to principal-level positions, ensuring long-term career prospects in the industry.

The plans were jointly announced by the National Trades Union Congress' (NTUC) Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), Association of Singapore Marine Industries, and NTUC's Electronics, Marine and Engineering Cluster.

The organisations noted that some vocations in the industry remain unappealing to local talent due to lack of career progression and perceived low pay.

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng said: "These two jobs (selected for the plans) are evergreen jobs. They are critical in almost every aspect of marine and offshore projects."

He added that the launch is also vital due to a manpower shortage here. The industry has to evolve, get younger workers to join, and ensure the workers have a full career that they can realise in the future.

Employers can also see that such development plans are in their interest to keep their business sustainable, he said.

The three organisations also signed an agreement to help create a training and placement ecosystem for the industry.

The industry has faced many challenges, said Mr Simon Kuik, president of the Association of Singapore Marine Industries, who is also vice-president of Sembcorp Marine. He pointed to the energy transition from oil to gas and renewables reducing the demand for oil drillers and production rigs. The recovery of the sector was also pushed back by Covid-19, he said.

The Career Development Plans will be adopted by four firms for a start - Dyna-Mac Engineering, Keppel Offshore & Marine, PaxOcean and Sembcorp Marine.

Over 100 pilot vacancies will be made available at the SGUnited-e2i Marine Jobs and Skills Discovery job fair tomorrow from these four companies. They are part of some 400 openings offered at the fair.

The plans will be progressively rolled out to the rest of the industry depending on its response rate.

Under the plans, there are multiple pathways to cater to fresh graduates, mid-career switchers and existing workers in the industry.

Starting salaries for a drafting specialist or quality technician can range from $1,900 to $2,400. A principal drafting specialist or quality engineer with over five years' experience can earn $3,500 to $6,000.

Dr Lee Chay Hoon, Keppel Offshore & Marine's director of organisation development and human resources, said the initiative will augment the company's talent development efforts: "Amid the challenges posed by the pandemic, we have been reskilling our workforce, streamlining and adapting our operations, and leveraging technology to grow our capabilities and accelerate our pivot to gas and renewables."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2021, with the headline 'Career plans launched for marine and offshore engineering'. Subscribe