New manufacturing training office to be set up in Jurong Innovation District, which has attracted $420m in investments

An artist's impression of Jurong Innovation District (JID), located near Nanyang Technological University. PHOTO: JTC
An artist's impression of Jurong Innovation District (JID), located near Nanyang Technological University. PHOTO: JTC
An artist's impression of Jurong Innovation District (JID), located near Nanyang Technological University. PHOTO: JTC

SINGAPORE - To boost the competitiveness of Singapore's flourishing manufacturing sector, a new industry-led training programme office will plan ways to ensure the workforce has emerging skills and knowledge.

The Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy (AMTA), which was launched on Tuesday (Oct 20), will be located at the Jurong Innovation District (JID) manufacturing hub, which has attracted about $420 million of investments in the past year.

The AMTA programme office will work with schools and training providers to design new courses to help workers excel, as Singapore establishes itself as an advanced manufacturing hub.

It will also work to predict what skills and knowledge such workers will need to meet future industry requirements.

AMTA was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday during the Industrial Transformation Asia-Pacific conference.

It is the latest in efforts here to continue the upward momentum of the manufacturing sector, which grew about 3.5 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of 2020 despite the pandemic.

Manufacturing contributes about 20 per cent to Singapore's economy and employs about 472,000 workers.

AMTA will be supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore. Also contributing to the academy are the Nanyang Technological University and SkillsFuture Singapore.

It will be governed by a training council comprising institutes of higher learning, public agencies and unions, and will be led by the former managing director and Singapore country manager of Micron Semiconductor Asia, Mr Lee Kok Choy.

"AMTA aspires to collaborate with strategic partners to plan and deliver training to meet industry needs and strengthen Singapore's manufacturing competitiveness against the backdrop of rapidly changing technology trends," said Mr Lee, who is also the chairman of Temasek Polytechnic's Board of Governors.

AMTA's location in the JID is strategic, given how the district plans to be a one-stop advanced manufacturing hub for Singapore by bringing together researchers, students, innovators and businesses to develop products and services of the future.

The first phase of the 600ha JID is expected to be completed around 2022, with the district creating over 95,000 new jobs.

Singapore government agency JTC, which is developing the district, said on Tuesday that despite disruptions from Covid-19, JID has attracted about $420 million of new investments this year.

Last week, South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai marked the groundbreaking of its new innovation centre at JID, which will be ready by 2022.

The centre, said to be the first of its kind, will enable Hyundai to develop new automotive technologies, including for the production of electric vehicles. It expects to produce up to 30,000 vehicles per year by 2025.

Besides Hyundai, other companies that will be opening facilities in the JID include imaging product manufacturer Konica Minolta, and robotics developer Fanuc, as well as engineering company Bosch Rexroth.

JTC chief executive Tan Boon Khai noted that the district's ecosystem is growing and that it aims to serve the region as an advanced manufacturing hub.

The district's ecosystem aims to serve the region as an advanced manufacturing hub. PHOTO: JTC

"We continue to build strong partnerships with industry players, trade associations and academia, creating more opportunities for companies to leverage the research and development, training and capability development, and technology expertise in JID to accelerate their next phase of business transformation," he said.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, EDB announced it would be partnering with the World Economic Forum to globally expand the Singapore-developed Smart Industry Readiness Index (Siri), which spells out ways manufacturing companies can transform to meet future challenges.

The partnership hopes to make Siri an internationally recognised standard for Industry 4.0 transformation. Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the Industrial Revolution that focuses heavily technologies like artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, and data analytics to optimise how goods are manufactured.

To encourage global adoption of the index, 90 certified Siri assessors will be trained over the next 18 months. These assessors will work to conduct between 500 to 750 new official Siri assessments by the end of next year.

Over 350 firms based here from more than 15 countries have completed such assessments since the index was launched in November 2017.

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