4,000 jobs in sustainability sector will include roles for PMETs, workers: MSE

Singapore is looking to strengthen its waste management and recycling industry. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The 4,000 new and upgraded jobs that will open up in the environmental services, food and agri-food industries over the next year will include a mix of positions for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) as well as rank-and-file workers.

These will include skilled posts in the high-tech agriculture and aquaculture sectors, such as plant scientists, agronomists and aquaculture specialists, the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) told The Straits Times.

Workers with expertise in areas such as engineering, science and environmental management will also be in demand as Singapore looks to strengthen its waste management and recycling industry, so more value can be extracted from waste.

There will be opportunities as well for rank-and-file workers to learn new skills so they can take on higher-paying jobs in more specialised roles.

For example, the MSE said it will help general cleaners upskill through various initiatives, such as a new course on environmental infection control in non-healthcare facilities.

"With the enhanced skillsets, cleaning professionals will be better equipped to take on more specialised job roles, with improved salaries and career prospects," said a spokesman.

The ministry was responding to queries from ST on job prospects in the sustainability sector following news on Thursday (Aug 27) that more positions will be created in this field as Singapore pursues sustainable development.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu noted that 55,000 jobs are expected to be created in the next decade, including about 4,000 in the next year.

She pointed to environmental services, climate research and agriculture and aquaculture as areas of growth as opportunities Singaporeans can exploit from the threats posed by pandemics, climate change and resource constraints.

Ms Fu added that her ministry will support a "competitive transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient future" by promoting green growth and riding on opportunities from decarbonisation and industries such as carbon services and climate science.

Asked for details on this, the MSE spokesman pointed to Singapore's investments into climate science, and research and development into clean energy options such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technologies, and hydrogen.

CCUS technologies help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store or convert it to useful products such as concrete, while hydrogen can be a potential source of clean energy when coupled with renewable energy systems.

"As low-carbon technologies are being developed and test-bedded in Singapore to help us address our own energy and climate challenges, they will also be useful to other cities facing similar challenges," said the MSE spokesman.

Partnering with industry players and investing heavily in research to address these challenges will allow Singapore-developed solutions to be exported, he added.

Ms Melissa Low, a climate policy researcher at the National University of Singapore (NUS), noted that while sustainability was not a novel concept for Singapore, it was the first time that the Government officially called for a push for a green recovery.

"This is encouraging, especially since we will all be operating in an increasingly carbon-constrained world, with many countries trying to cut their carbon footprint," said Ms Low, a research fellow at the NUS Energy Studies Institute.

Singapore's heavy investment in low-carbon options looks set to be a key part of the country's green recovery plan, she said.

Moreover, the creation of new jobs in industries that will help Singapore pursue the low-carbon future it has envisioned also ensures that workers are not left behind, noted Ms Low.

But she added that it was important to see how the MSE will work with other ministries to incorporate sustainability at the national level.

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