New skills-based certification scheme to help budding engineers build careers

Senior engineering supervisor of Go-Ahead Singapore Alfian Noordin (left) and SBS Transit senior technical officer Thandavarayan Balaji. ST PHOTOS: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Technicians and technologists aspiring to become engineers now have a new pathway to realise their ambition - without having to meet the mandatory academic qualifications if they already have the required skills and industry experience.

The Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Certification Scheme, which was launched on Friday (Jan 22), will make it easier for them to gain recognition for their competencies, regardless of their educational background.

Speaking at the launch at Singapore Polytechnic, Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang said that engineers, technologists and technicians play an important role in improving people's daily lives and have been contributing greatly to Singapore's nation-building in various sectors, from land transportation to public healthcare.

"With the launch of the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Certification Scheme, technologists and technicians will be able to gain greater recognition for their skills and experience for progression in their careers, regardless of their educational background. This skills-based route will complement our formal higher education pathways." she said.

Previously, under each level of certification, meeting the academic qualifications requirement is mandatory, even if the technician, technologist or engineer has extensive experience in the industry.

With the updated scheme, experienced technicians, technologists and engineers who meet the eligibility criteria can register for the respective certifications.

This scheme is part of the National Engineering Career Progression Pathway which consists of three levels of certification: Chartered Engineering Technician (CETn), Chartered Engineering Technologist (CETg) and Chartered Engineer (CEng).

There are now 40 organisations which contributed to the development of the chartership framework, an increase of 20 partners since the signing of a memorandum of understanding on National Engineers Day in July 2019.

Technicians, technologists and engineers who are successfully registered are recognised as professionals for their competencies by local stakeholders. The aim is to gain recognition from foreign stakeholders eventually.

Welcoming the scheme, Dr Richard Kwok, president of the Institute of Engineers, Singapore (IES), said: "This scheme brings us a step closer to our vision of building an inclusive engineering community, where all practitioners have the opportunity to learn, earn professional recognition and contribute to their organisations and industries, regardless of their level of academic qualifications."

Mr Tan Seng Chuan, chairman of the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Accreditation Board (Cettab), also lauded the scheme, which he said recognises competent professionals in this industry through assessment of their competencies, fosters a culture of lifelong learning and promotes skills-based career progression.

"We also hope that this certification scheme will increase the recognition and career prospects of our engineering community beyond Singapore, through our Mutual Recognition Agreement with some of the countries in the region." he added.

Friday's launch also saw the appointment of members to the Cettab, a multi-organisational body established to manage the scheme. The board comprises 24 members from educational institutions and industrial partners, all of whom are senior figures in the industries.

A memorandum of understanding between IES and Singapore Bus Academy (SGBA) was also signed for the assessment and accreditation of the technical workforce in the bus sector.

The scheme was also well received on Friday by the first cohort of chartered technicians and chartered technologists who contribute to the built environment, land transport and water and environment sectors in Singapore.

(From left) Institution of Engineers president Richard Kwok, Minister of State for Education and Manpower Gan Siow Huang and Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Accreditation Board chairman Tan Seng Chuan. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SBS Transit senior technical officer Thandavarayan Balaji, 51, who was awarded the chartered technologist certification, said he has benefited from the scheme because he is now able to gain recognition from his employer and fellow colleagues. The "chartered" status will help in his career advancement and motivate him to upgrade himself, he added.

Mr Alfian Noordin, 45, a senior engineering supervisor of Go-Ahead Singapore, who received his chartered technician certification, said that the recognition which comes with the new certification will give him "pride and it's something to look forward to."

He attributed his 23 years of experience in the automotive industry to "passion and commitment" which drives him.

"I believe that if I want something, I'd rather work for it than wait for someone to open the door for me," said Mr Alfian.

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