Singapore, 26 Sep 2017 – To help Singapore companies capture the growing regional demand for infrastructure, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore today announced a new programme to match and train mid-career professionals with companies in the infrastructure sector. Launched in partnership with Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Global Ready Infrastructure Talent (GRIT) is tailored to develop PMETs with deep skills in areas such as (but not limited to) infrastructure project financing, project transactional advisory and project engineering for global infrastructure projects. Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), announced this at the seventh run of IE Singapore’s Asia-Singapore Infrastructure Roundtable (ASIR), which discussed opportunities and challenges of smart and sustainable infrastructure in Asia.
Building infrastructure talent through GRIT
2. With Asia requiring S$2.3 trillion of infrastructure investments annually from 2016 – 2030, there are many business opportunities, with corresponding demand for supporting professional services. However, based on IE Singapore’s 2016 Internationalisation Survey, Singapore companies face the lack of talent with global experience and specific skill sets. To address this, the PCP for GRIT will support companies which are keen to recruit mid-career PMETs from other sectors, and train them in areas of financing, legal, engineering consultancy and advisory for global infrastructure projects.
3. Targeting people who have graduated for at least two years, the PCP for GRIT provides a structured on-the-job training programme for up to 18 months and exposes participants to global projects. It is applicable for companies across the infrastructure value chain, including banks, project financing firms, infrastructure companies and advisory firms. WSG will subsidise up to 70% of the salary, capped at S$4,000, for newly-hired trainees. There are currently 30 openings from 12 companies.
4. Mr Lee Ark Boon, Chief Executive Officer of IE Singapore, said, “Singapore must leverage our strengths in planning, engineering, financial and legal services to capture Asia’s tremendous infrastructure opportunities, particularly through the Belt and Road Initiative. However, currently, we do not have enough local talent as project development and structuring is cross-disciplinary and complex. Through the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Global Ready Infrastructure Talent (GRIT), we will partner local enterprises to build local talents with specific, customised skill sets to help companies embark on infrastructure projects overseas.” (Refer to Annex 1 for Mr Lee’s opening speech)
5. Mr Tan Choon Shian, Chief Executive of Workforce Singapore said, “The Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Global Ready Infrastructure Talent (GRIT) in partnership with IE Singapore, helps interested PMETs move into the Infrastructure industry. This is part of WSG’s efforts to help mid-career professionals transit into fast developing hiring industries. WSG will continue to work with industry partners to develop industry specific Professional Conversion Programmes, to enable companies in these industries to tap on additional sources of mid-career professionals to recruit and train.”
6. Yamato Technologies Pte Ltd is one of the companies participating in the PCP for GRIT. It recently partnered First Quezon Biogas Corporation (FQBC) to launch its first Design, Build, Own and Operate (DBOO) project in the Philippines. Said Mr Taher Uddin, Managing Director of Yamato, “Southeast Asia presents a large opportunity for decentralised small-scale infrastructure projects and is a key growth market for Yamato. As we move away from the traditional Engineer, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) model into a DBOO model for sustainability, we need to build a new team with skillsets in project development and project fund-raising. With the programme, we have the support to start developing the right manpower to carry out our overseas expansion strategy.”
7. Mr Liang Dong Tzy is a 37-year old professional who joined the PCP for GRIT and is now working for Yamato. Previously from the hospitality industry, he was unemployed for a few months after leaving his job. He is now undergoing on-the-job training to learn skills specific to project development. Mr Liang shared, “It was nerve-wrecking changing industries and job roles, but the programme provides clear, structured training to make the transition smoother. Although challenging, I am learning new, professional skill sets that would raise my competitiveness.”
8. Another trainee, 26-year old Cheng Zi Wei, left the real estate industry as an accounting assistant to learn new skill sets to progress further in her career. Now on board with Darco Water Technologies, she is able to take on a financial planning and analysis role critical for the company to take on DBOO projects. She will be trained to work on financial models to assess the commercial viability of projects. Said Ms Cheng, “I was looking for a new career path that would allow me to gain deeper skill sets. The programme gave me the opportunity for a more advanced role in finance, in a different industry with a lot of potential to grow.”
9. Darco is also expanding into Southeast Asia to tap into the growing opportunities. At the ASIR today, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with InfraCo Asia Development Pte Ltd, a commercially-managed infrastructure development company, to work on a DBOO model for four municipal water treatment projects in Vietnam. IE Singapore facilitated their partnership. With an investment of S$50 million, this marks Darco’s first DBOO project in Vietnam.
10. The New Clark City (NCC) project in the Philippines is another example of growing infrastructure demand in the region. IE Singapore signed a MOU with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) of the Philippines to collaborate on development of the NCC at ASIR today. The project will transform over 9,000 hectares of military land for civilian usage, creating opportunities for Singapore companies to offer urban development solutions.
Singapore growing as thought leader for infrastructure
11. The fourth edition of the Project Finance International (PFI) Best Asia Infrastructure Projects citations dinner will take place this evening. Organised by PFI with IE Singapore’s support, this dinner recognizes some of the best examples of infrastructure projects successfully structured and executed in the Asia-Pacific region. It is part of Singapore’s effort initiatives to grow the ecosystem for the development and structuring of Asian infrastructure projects in Singapore, through facilitating the sharing of best practices amongst companies. Guest of Honour Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Law and Finance will be speaking and presenting the citations to winners.
12. This year’s citations focus on smart urban infrastructure and financing, with eight winners across five categories. Sunseap Group, a Singaporean developer of solar energy projects, is a notable winner in the (Smart Project category) for its development of Cambodia’s first large-scale solar project. The event also recognises InfraCo Asia, a Singapore-based project development fund as a ‘Smart Seed Investor’ for funding the development of infrastructure projects at an early stage, thus helping to make more infrastructure projects bankable for private sector investor. (Refer to Annex 2 for details and full list of citations)
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Annex 1: Click here
Annex 2: Click here