Skills framework for public transport sector launched

Workers in the public transport industry can now identify the skills they need to stay employable and relevant, along with career pathways and training opportunities.

Launched yesterday, the Skills Framework for Public Transport will also support the growth in manpower in the industry, with 8,000 new jobs to be created by 2030.

There are now 21,000 workers in the bus and rail industry, but the sector will grow, with $20 billion being invested in infrastructure to expand the network and about $5 billion in subsidies for public bus services over the next five years.

Under the framework, a total of 87 job roles have been identified along four career tracks: rail operations, rail engineering, bus operations and bus fleet engineering.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that the public transport sector faces disruption from new technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

"The skills framework is a very important platform to bring together the unions, the employers, as well as the training providers and Government, to think about how we can maximise opportunities for every individual worker to progress in their career, but also to move sideways," he said.

The framework will be reviewed at least every two years, he added.

  • 21k

    Number of workers in the bus and rail industry today.

  • 8k

    Number of new jobs to be created in the industry by 2030.

National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) executive secretary Melvin Yong said the NTWU is "working closely with the public transport operators and industry partners to co-develop training programmes and to curate and put together relevant courses".

"We hope to leverage the two centralised training institutions - the Singapore Bus Academy and the Singapore Rail Academy - to translate these ideas to practical training programmes," Mr Yong said in a Facebook post.

The framework, encapsulated in a 140-page document, has been developed by SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore, the Land Transport Authority, public transport operators, education providers and the NTWU. It details job descriptions, and the technical skills and competencies required.

SBS Transit currently has a career progression scheme for its bus drivers and gives them opportunities to take on alternative roles, such as becoming driving instructors or working in the operations control centre.

Its chief executive, Mr Gan Juay Kiat, said the firm recently added a two-day programme to teach drivers basic maintenance skills, so they can also troubleshoot simple technical problems on the road.

The skills framework is part of the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map launched in February.

Go-Ahead Singapore depot supervisor Josephine Lee said: "I want to expand my data analytical skills and my communication skills as I need to interact with the bus captains and members of the public."

Ms Lee, who is in her mid-50s and was a bus driver for four years, said: "The skills framework will help me explore what other skills I need to deepen my capabilities... Previously, there wasn't any such resource to tap."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2018, with the headline 'Skills framework for public transport sector launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe