Singapore to equip workers with relevant skills so they can benefit from green economy: Gan Kim Yong

As different sectors undergo a green transformation, they may be impacted differently, depending on the nature of their businesses and operations. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore aims to equip its workers with relevant skills so they can benefit from the green economy, as the nation works towards pursuing its sustainability goals, said Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong on Wednesday (Jan 12).

For instance, a traditional car mechanic will need to learn how to repair an electric vehicle, while a power engineer will need to learn about hydrogen, solar and other renewable energies. Likewise, an investment manager will need to learn about sustainability standards and green financing, he said.

Mr Gan was responding to suggestions by various MPs on their motion to transform Singapore into a low-carbon economy, including setting up a new academy to train local experts in research and development and technical expertise in the green space.

In the short-to-medium term, Ms Rachel Ong (West Coast GRC) asked the Government to close the current employability gap between undergraduates in green courses and employment in relevant sectors, and to enhance sustainability-focused courses in institutes of higher learning.

Ms Poh Li San (Sembawang GRC) urged the Government to look out for older workers who are at risk of job displacement amid the green transition, especially in jobs that require IT skills that may be more challenging for them.

Noting that SkillsFuture Singapore has identified the green economy as a growth area in its inaugural report on Skills Demand For The Future Economy, Mr Gan said there are green job opportunities in many sectors, such as financial services, energy and power, built environment, and manufacturing.

"There are also skills that are transferable across sectors, such as carbon footprint management and sustainability management. These skills can equip our existing workforce to take on new or transformed jobs in the green economy," he added.

Workforce Singapore (WSG) is working with partners to explore a Career Conversion Programme (CCP) for sustainability professionals, the minister said.

The CCP is for mid-career individuals to undergo skills conversion and move into new occupations or sectors that have good prospects and opportunities for progression.

"This CCP will not only help companies develop Sustainability Champions to kick-start their journey but also support the transition of affected workers due to the 'greening' of their jobs," said Mr Gan.

He noted that at the sectoral level, efforts are under way to build Singapore's green talent pipeline.

For example, a new CCP for clean and renewable energy professionals was rolled out by WSG and Singapore Polytechnic in September last year.

"Over the next two years, the new CCP will support the transition of up to 150 existing employees that are impacted and mid-careerists from other sectors into the clean and renewable energy-related roles," he added.

In addition, the Monetary Authority of Singapore is also setting up centres of excellence for training and research in green financing, which can support workers in building the relevant knowledge and skills to help anchor Singapore as a leading centre for green finance, Mr Gan said.

As different sectors undergo a green transformation, they may be impacted differently, depending on the nature of their businesses and operations.

Since large-emitting sectors such as the petrochemical industry will be impacted more adversely, the Government has been working with such businesses to help them decarbonise.

Similarly, in the power sector, the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Energy Market Authority are embarking on an energy transition plan to decarbonise electricity production, by accelerating solar deployment and to import 4 gigawatts of electricity by 2035.

"But lower-emitting businesses will also need to incorporate sustainability as an integral part of their businesses, and embrace sustainability as a competitive advantage," Mr Gan added.

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