Skills training, job matching, boost investor confidence in Kendal Industrial Park in Indonesia

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong touring the furniture showroom and workshop at the Kendal Industrial Park. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

KENDAL (CENTRAL JAVA) - The focus on skills training and job matching is key to the success of the Kendal Industrial Park, Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said on Thursday (May 19) as he witnessed the launch of a job portal aimed at attracting local talent to support the growth of the Singapore-Indonesia joint venture.

Mr Wong said Kendal Careers, or Kendal Karier, was a commendable initiative by the Kendal Regency government to boost the placement of workers to jobs and enhance local residents' access to jobs.

"Importantly, it will also strengthen investor confidence, because when investors come here, they need workers; but when they know that there is such a strong focus on skills, training and job matching by the regency government, I think investors will have more confidence to invest in Kendal," added the minister.

He was speaking at the office of Kendal Regent Dico Ganinduto, with whom he discussed ways to deepen cooperation to support greater private sector investments and developments, including in infrastructure, job creation and skills training in the Kendal park.

Mr Wong is on a four-day working visit to Indonesia, and on Thursday, he also witnessed a certificate awards ceremony for new trainees.

One of the recipients, Ms Natasya Putri, 20, a high school graduate, recently completed a short training course on operating industrial sewing machines.

She told The Straits Times that she hopes to land a job soon.

"The course really helped me improve my practical skills, and now I also understand the workflow of how a product is made. This builds confidence," she said.

The 2,700ha park began as a commercial collaboration between Singapore's Sembcorp Development and Indonesian industrial estate developer Jababeka, but has since become "an excellent testament, a good example, of the close economic cooperation between our two countries", Mr Wong noted.

Opened in 2016 by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the park has attracted 74 committed tenants from a range of industries and total investments valued at US$1.7 billion (S$2.4 billion).

Investors, he said, were coming not only from Indonesia, but also from Asean members including Singapore, North-east Asia, and Europe.

These investments are expected to create more than 12,000 new jobs for the local community.

Mr Dico said: "We hope going forward, the cooperation will expand, not only in industry but other sectors including tourism."

Mr Wong said the park "has done very well in this short span of time" despite the economic uncertainty brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, attributing the success to skills training and job matching by Indonesia's Ministry of Industry, the Kendal Regency government and the Kendal Industrial Park.

"They are not only attracting investors, but they are also very much focused on training and equipping people with the relevant skills so that they can take on the jobs quickly," he said, citing Indonesia's Link and Match Programme and the Kendal Polytechnic as examples.

Mr Wong added the park is developing phase two, which will likely more than double its size and bring in many more investments and jobs to Kendal and Central Java.

"All of us can look forward to more growth, more prosperity despite the challenges we see in the external environment, so long as we can continue to build on this strong spirit of collaboration and partnership between Indonesia and Singapore," he said.

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