Speech by Senior Minister of State For Education, Mr Chee Hong Tat, at the Skillsfuture Festival at NUS, at the NUS University Cultural Centre

Published Date: 24 July 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. A very good morning to everyone. I am happy to join you at today’s SkillsFuture Festival at NUS.

2. First, I would like to thank NUS for organising today’s event. NUS has been a staunch advocate of lifelong learning, partnering its students and alumni through innovative programmes such as NUS Lifelong Learners. It is based on the concept of a student being enrolled with the university for 20 years, from the point of admission. Beyond the few years of undergraduate education, NUS graduates will continue to qualify for a menu of skills-based, industry relevant courses offered by NUS, to help them upskill and reskill throughout their careers.

Introduction: Industry 4.0 and the Future of Skills

3. Today’s SkillsFuture Festival at NUS has adopted the theme of “Industry 4.0 and the Future of Skills”. Industry 4.0 marks a new era for advanced manufacturing, and builds on the capabilities we have developed in the third industry revolution.

4. But Industry 4.0 is not just about replacing existing equipment with new technologies, or asking businesses to buy new equipment. It is also about integrating equipment with sensors and control systems, so that they are connected with one another and can operate more effectively. In fact, older equipment can be rejuvenated through such efforts, and can continue to remain productive for many more years.

5. The same applies to workers. Industry 4.0 is not about replacing existing workers with machines or new workers. An essential component is the training of existing workers to equip them with the skills to use the new technologies. Worker training and skills upgrading must go hand in hand with enterprise transformation and adoption of technology.

6. As part of the SkillsFuture movement, the Government will partner with key stakeholders to broaden opportunities for skills training. We will do this through three “I”s: Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), Industry and Insights.

IHLs will enable workforce to access future skills and be ready for Industry 4.0

7. IHLs — the first “I”— are a key partner in our SkillsFuture strategy. This includes both public and private education institutions.

8. Under the SkillsFuture Series, which focuses on emerging skills that employers are looking for, the IHLs deliver training courses for working adults, in consultation with employers, industry partners and the Labour Movement. Since 2017, the number of courses has expanded over three-fold from 400 to over 1,500. As at Mar 2019, close to 40,000 individuals have signed up for SkillsFuture Series courses.

9. Our IHLs will continue to ramp up their efforts to provide more training places for our workers in areas that will prepare them for Industry 4.0. I would like to acknowledge the hard work that has been put in by our colleagues at the IHLs, to move from full-time PET to Continued Education and Training (CET). And I salute our colleagues in the IHLs who are working very hard in this transformation, to take on a new role, that they know is important for Singapore’s future.

10. First, NUS will introduce a “Master of Science in Industry 4.0” next month. This is a first-of-its-kind graduate degree programme focusing on Industry 4.0. It taps on curricula across five NUS Academic Units, and covers subjects such as Data Analytics, Digital Infrastructure and Transformation Systems, as well as Deep Learning. This programme will also give adult learners the opportunity to apply their classroom learning in the real world through an industrial attachment.

11. Second, NUS is expanding its partnerships with organisations under its “All-You-Can-LearnTM” model, to provide customised training modules for these organisations. Today, we will witness MOU signings to formalise NUS’s collaborations with five organisations.

12. Third, Temasek Polytechnic will be launching a Micro Learning Course on Industry 4.0. This course is fully online and comes in bite-size modules, allowing learners to learn on the go – anytime, anywhere and at their own pace.

13. Fourth, our IHLs are collaborating with one another to develop “stackable” modular courses in Industry 4.0 skills. The Institute of Systems Science in NUS will be signing MOUs with Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic today to effect the collaboration. This will allow modules from the polytechnics’ post-diploma programmes to be counted towards ISS’ Master of Technology.

Anchor companies to provide training for sector in skills relevant to Industry 4.0

14. The second “I” is Industry. Businesses are a key partner to deliver industry-relevant training together with IHLs. They can also develop in-house training programmes and capabilities.

15. We recognise that smaller enterprises may lack the resources to make significant investments in training. Hence, we have been working on a collaborative training model that will tap on the capabilities of anchor companies to uplift industry sectors as a whole. The end goal is to grow the talent pipeline by attracting and training more workers for all companies within the sector.

16. I am happy to announce that the BOSCH Rexroth Regional Training Centre (BRRTC) will be established as the first-of-its-kind for the Advanced Manufacturing sector, providing training for the sector in Industry 4.0 skills. BRRTC will train beyond the needs of Bosch Rexroth, and will open up its training opportunities to other companies in the industry.

17. This training centre is a partnership between SSG, Bosch Rexroth, Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Singapore Polytechnic and JTC. It will be an anchor training provider in the Jurong Innovation District, to serve the training and talent needs of advanced manufacturing companies in Singapore and the region.

18. Today, the partners will sign a MOU for BRRTC to deliver and certify Industry 4.0 Specialists based on German standards. This will be a first of its kind for Southeast Asia. I hope that today’s partnership will be the first of many more such collaborations in the future.

Helping Singaporeans make informed choices in education, training and careers with Jobs-Skills Insights

19. The third “I” is Insights. This is about helping our stakeholders make better training and career decisions. It is important as the jobs and skills landscape is becoming increasingly complex.

20. Starting from next month, SSG will publish a series of reports, called “Jobs-Skills Insights” by partnering top-tier job portals such as BurningGlass Technologies, Indeed.com and JobTech, to obtain and analyse jobs data. Jobs-skills insights will then be communicated to individuals, enterprises and IHLs through published reports, dashboards and webinars.

21. These data-driven insights on jobs and skills will help students, workers, employers and training providers make better informed decisions on re-skilling, lifelong learning and career choices. Students and workers will be able to learn about the skill requirements for different jobs, while employers will benefit from knowing the skills their sectors require. Training providers can also use these insights to design courses that meet emerging skills needs, to keep their programmes relevant for their customers.

Conclusion

22. As we move towards the future economy underpinned by Industry 4.0, it is critical that our workforce be equipped with the right skills that match evolving industry needs.

23. There is a fourth “I” to make everything work – this refers to all of us as Individuals. We must continue to embrace the spirit of lifelong learning, and take charge of our career development and skills upgrading. SkillsFuture is not just one initiative; SkillsFuture is a movement. It is a multi-year effort; it is a multi-partner endeavour. It is a movement we hope will seed a passion for learning among our people.

24. I am inspired by Mr Ang Kian Hua, who is a Master Craftsman at Makino Asia. Kian Hua graduated with a Higher NITEC in Manufacturing Engineering in 2004. He honed his skills through on-the-job training and attending industry-relevant courses. He also completed the WSQ Diploma and Specialist Diploma in Precision Engineering in 2013 and 2014. He was exposed to different job roles via a rotation programme in Makino where he broadened his skillsets in machine assembly, quality checking and after sales service operations. Kian Hua was certified by Singapore Manufacturing Federation as a Master Craftsman in 2015. He is now a coach for his team, trainer for new hires and supervises ITE students on attachment to Makino Asia. Kian Hua’s story shows the importance of having a passion for lifelong learning and skills mastery, and how individuals can play a proactive role in seeking out opportunities to upgrade existing skills and acquire new skills.

25. Let us unite around this common purpose and work together to prepare our enterprises and workers for Industry 4.0, so that Singapore’s economy can remain competitive and we can continue to provide better jobs, better pay and a better life for our people.

26. Thank you.

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