1. Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), Mr S Iswaran, launched the Marine & Offshore Engineering (M&OE) Industry Transformation Map (ITM) today at the Trade Association Hub at Jurong Town Hall, in conjunction with the establishment of an ITM Programme Office within the Association of Singapore Marine Industries (ASMI).
2. Developed by a multi-agency team, led by the Economic Development Board (EDB), together with trade associations and chambers (TACs), unions and industry partners, the M&OE ITM charts the roadmap to drive transformation and help companies, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), capture long-term growth opportunities in the industry. Through the ITM, the M&OE industry is expected to have a value-added of S$5.8 billion and create around 1,500 new jobs by 2025.
3. The past three years have been one of the most trying periods for Singapore’s M&OE industry. However, despite challenging business conditions, the M&OE industry has remained resilient. In 2016, the industry contributed S$3.6 billion to Singapore’s gross domestic product, S$12.3 billion to Singapore’s total manufacturing output, and employed more than 23,000 locals. The Government, alongside associations and unions, have also introduced interim measures to support M&OE companies.
4. These include SPRING Singapore’s Bridging Loan (BL) and International Enterprise (IE) Singapore’s enhanced Internationalisation Finance Scheme (IFS) to help Singapore-based M&OE companies finance their operations and bridge short- term cash flow gaps. Since 2016, the two schemes are administered in partnership with local financial institutions, and have catalysed nearly S$700 million in loans to more than 100 unique borrowers, 80% of whom are SMEs. ASMI, the Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Employees’ Union (SMEEU), Workforce Singapore (WSG), and EDB have also been supporting the reskilling of affected employees through Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) under WSG’s Adapt and Grow initiative, so that they may be redeployed into new job roles or in the same or adjacent industries.
5. While it is critical to preserve core capabilities in the M&OE industry and ride through the downturn, Singapore must also be prepared to seize new opportunities on the horizon. The M&OE ITM has identified three key thrusts: preparing for the future through innovation and productivity improvements, pursuing new growth areas, and equipping Singaporeans with relevant skills.
Preparing for the future through innovation and productivity improvements
6. To ensure that our M&OE industry remains globally competitive, the Government is helping companies invest in advanced manufacturing. These include additive manufacturing, robotics and automation to improve productivity. As the global M&OE industry increasingly explores digital technologies to optimise its operations and generate new revenue streams, the Government will support companies in developing next-generation M&OE solutions that can enable remote monitoring, provide predictability and support decision-making.
7. The Government will also support companies’ in-house research & development (R&D) initiatives and facilitate public-private R&D through research institutes such as the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine Singapore (TCOMS)1.
Pursuing new growth areas
8. Driven by the global transition to a low-carbon economy and increased alternative uses of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), global expenditure on LNG is expected to exceed US$280 billion by 20212. Similarly, on the back of heightened global focus on sustainability, the global offshore wind market is anticipated to exceed US$130 billion by 2023 3 . These present opportunities for the M&OE industry to leverage its existing capabilities in building offshore structures and supporting offshore projects, to venture into these new areas.
9. The Government will help companies access these new business opportunities by connecting companies with relevant stakeholders and resources, and supporting business partnerships with companies in overseas markets.
Equipping Singaporeans with relevant skills
10. As M&OE companies intensify their transformation efforts and pursue new growth areas, Singaporeans must be well-prepared to take on the new and exciting job roles coming ahead.
11. The Skills Framework for Marine and Offshore was developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), WSG, EDB and SPRING Singapore, together with industry stakeholders such as employers, industry associations, unions and education providers. The framework allows individuals to explore career advancement opportunities along or across seven career tracks, which include Design and Engineering; Quality Assurance and Quality Control; and Workplace Safety and Health. In total, it covers 29 job roles in the Marine & Offshore industry. It also provides key information on the industry, and identifies a total of 96 existing and emerging technical skills and competencies. The emerging skills and competencies include Additive Manufacturing, Robotics and Automation Application, and Green Ship Design.
12. SSG has also launched the SkillsFuture Series, which is a curated list of short and modular courses to reskill or upskill the workforce in emerging and priority skills areas required, such as Advanced Manufacturing and Data Analytics. Temasek Polytechnic will also implement two new SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes (ELPs) in emerging and critical areas – Robotics and Automation and the Industrial Internet of Things – this year. In addition, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will offer its new Work-Learn Technical Diploma in M&OE this April.
13. PMETs can tap on WSG’s PCPs to be reskilled for job roles in the new growth areas such as LNG. Since October 2016, more than 300 PMETs have been reskilled through the three PCPs for Marine Engineers, Assistant Engineers and Technicians.
Deepening ties with industry associations and unions
14. As the champions for companies and employees within the M&OE industry, TACs and unions such as ASMI and SMEEU, play key roles in catalysing the industry and implementing many M&OE ITM initiatives. A prime example of this is the establishment of the M&OE ITM Programme Office at ASMI, with SPRING’s support. As part of ASMI’s Secretariat, the Programme Office will work with M&OE companies including SMEs, to drive the adoption of productivity solutions, encourage innovation efforts and address future manpower needs.
15. “As the industry champion, ASMI has contributed to the M&OE industry’s evolution from its beginning as a regional centre for shipbuilding and repair to its current achievements today of being an international centre of distinction for marine and offshore repair, conversion and newbuilding projects. With the M&OE ITM, we hope to expand and upgrade our expertise and services further so that Singapore remains a premier centre of choice for customized solutions, quality products, value add and reliable services in the global M&OE market. The Programme Office will work with various government agencies and relevant partners to drive initiatives to develop capabilities in the growth areas identified in the ITM to transform the M&OE industry for the future,” said Mr. Abu Bakar bin Mohd Nor, President of ASMI.
16. “We are glad that the industry is gradually enroute to recovery. SMEEU will work with our partner companies and stakeholders to strengthen the Singaporean workforce through retaining and deepening the skills of the employees. We hope to retain and attract more Singaporeans to join the industry through a more structured career progression coupled with competitive basic wages,” said Mr. Tommy Goh, President of SMEEU.
17. “The M&OE ITM vision calls for transformation and Singatac has taken steps to reposition ourselves to maintain relevancy to our clients. We have invested in automation and CNC-operated machines where high value-add components are manufactured for integration, diversified our production resources for cost-efficiency and expanded into new growth areas. We are thankful the Singapore Government has been highly supportive and provided assistance throughout our transformation journey and for our employees’ commitment to this change,” said Mr. Tan Soon Keong, Executive Director, Singatac Engineering Pte. Ltd.
Annex E - Factsheet on SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme - Specialist Diploma in Robotics and Automation, and SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme - Specialist Diploma in Industrial Internet of Things