Training facility set up for technicians to learn how to service electric, hybrid cars

(From right) Singapore Motor Workshop Association vice-president Henry Liang and Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat at the SMWA Training Academy on Dec 7, 2020.
(From right) Singapore Motor Workshop Association vice-president Henry Liang and Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat at the SMWA Training Academy on Dec 7, 2020.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Motor workshop technicians will be able to learn about servicing electric and hybrid vehicles at a new training facility as Singapore moves to phase out those with internal combustion engines by 2040.

About 1,000 of the 10,000 technicians in Singapore should be trained over the next three years at the facility, said the Singapore Motor Workshop Association (SMWA).

The SMWA Training Academy opened in Sin Ming AutoCity in Bishan on Monday (Dec 7).

SMWA has said there is a need to retrain and upskill the technicians ahead of the expected growth in the use of hybrid and electric vehicles, and the future development of autonomous vehicles.

The association's president, Mr Mike Keh, said: "(The academy) will enable businesses to level up their productivity and efficiency, and to support the transformation of the automotive workshop service industry."

Examples of courses available include a foundation one in electric vehicle autotronics and a certification programme in high-voltage vehicle repairs.

Various government agencies, including Workforce Singapore, Enterprise Singapore and JTC Corporation, as well as those in the business, supported the setting up of the training facility.

Mr Bernard Sim, managing director of car servicing and repair workshop BVO Automotive, noted that he had to send his staff overseas for training as courses on servicing electric and hybrid cars were not readily available in Singapore.

"Now that there is proper training here, we can save a lot of time and effort... and we can keep up with the new technologies," he said.

Several other initiatives were rolled out earlier as part of the effort to have all vehicles run on cleaner energy by 2040.

This included the electric vehicle early adoption incentive and the expansion of the national charging network for electric vehicles.

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Foreign Affairs Chee Hong Tat, who officiated the opening of the SMWA workshop, said preparations to achieve the cleaner vehicle goal has to start early because it is a matter of time before such vehicles become widespread in Singapore.

He said: "This is the future for the automotive industry, and we must start to prepare now so that we can stay ahead of the curve."

Mr Chee, who is also the adviser to SMWA, urged the automotive service industry to invest in training workers and digitalise work processes.

He praised the new code of practice for workshops which was also launched on Monday.

The code provides guidelines on training workers and improving the quality of service. It is the first such national standard for the industry.

Said Mr Chee: "This... will be very useful in uplifting the sector and providing customers with greater assurance when they go to workshops that comply with these standards."