Supply chain and logistics sector look to train more young professionals

SINGAPORE - The logistics and supply chain sector is ramping up its efforts to attract more white-collar professionals, especially young ones.

The labour movement on Thursday signed on professional association Supply Chain Asia (SCA) as one of their 32 U Associates, or professional guild network.

SCA, which trains logistics and supply chain professionals and has more than 1,000 members, inked two Memorandums of Understanding with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

The three groups will work together on bringing in advanced supply chain technologies to reduce manpower needs in the currently highly labour-intensive industry.

NTUC Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing, who observed the signing at the Harley Davidson Distribution Centre, said: "There is tremendous potential for Singapore to be a test bed for new technologies... and urban solutions for e-commerce.

"Connectivity can become our new competitive advantage. We need to get people to connect not just to us, but through us."

The first initiative under the new partnership will be the Young Logistics Leadership Programme, a two-month training scheme for young professionals in the sector.

The programme, which aims to start this August with 60 people, will include mentorship with senior industry professionals and a three-day simulated online game on supply chain management.

The course targets those with at least a diploma and no more than five years of working experience. It costs $1,500 for Singaporeans and permanent residents and $3,000 for foreigners.

SCA president Paul Lim said retaining young people in the industry was difficult. "Some will leave in three months, some in three years. In six years half the young ones will have left."

He called on employers to financially support their young staff in signing up for the programme.

SCA will also launch a supply chain hackathon for students from tertiary institutions, start-ups and commercial organisations. The three top winners will get a total of $10,000 from logistics giant DHL.

The supply chain industry accounts for 150,000 to 180,000 jobs locally.