Speech by Ms Gan Siow Huang, Minister of State, Ministry of Education, at the Launch of the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Certification Scheme

Published Date: 22 January 2021 10:00 AM

News Speeches

Dr Richard Kwok, President of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore,

Engineer Tan Seng Chuan, Chairperson of the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Accreditation Board (CETTAB),

Distinguished guests, my fellow Parliamentarian Mr Melvin Yong,

Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

2. Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you today for the launch of the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Certification Scheme.

IMPORTANCE OF ENGINEERING IN OUR SOCIETY

3. Engineers, technologists, and technicians are the brains and muscles behind many technologies and innovations that improve our daily lives. They play an important role in our society and have contributed immensely to nation-building since the beginning of Singapore's history.

4. I was in the Air Force for 25 years, and in the course of my work, I have developed a deep respect for engineers. When you think of the Air Force, you would normally think of pilots. However, for a pilot to be able to take off safely with the correct configuration, we have to rely on engineers and technicians, who make it all possible. In the Air Force, the engineers and technicians are always the first to arrive in the airbase, doing flight checks before the aircraft takes off, and ensuring that critical systems are in order. Technicians and engineers are also the last to leave the air base, carrying out checks on performance and performing diagnostics. Their work in such a complex system is amazing. And that is why I am privileged to be here today, to meet our engineers, technicians and technologists.

5. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Singapore and its land transport infrastructure has benefited tremendously from engineering solutions. During the early years of our independence, there was an urgent need to develop a reliable public transportation solution for our rapidly growing population, and hence the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network was conceptualised. From conceptualisation to completion, our engineers have contributed their expertise and efforts at every stage of its development, resulting in a land-efficient rail system that makes life more convenient for all Singaporeans. Since then, we have continued to make multiple engineering feats in the sector, such as driverless MRT trains and a Downtown Line that runs under the Singapore River.

6. Our engineers have also developed innovative home-grown solutions to improve our public health infrastructure. For instance, as part of COVID-19 safe management measures, many of us will have to go through temperature screening when entering buildings. But did you know that the Infrared Fever Screening System (IFss) which we see in airports and hospitals were developed in Singapore? The system was created by our engineers from Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Singapore Technologies (ST) Electronics during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, and was subsequently named as one of the best inventions of 2003 by Time magazine. It has now been deployed worldwide as mass fever-screening devices. And also, our engineers from Government Technology Agency (GovTech) developed a self-help temperature scanner that automatically measures temperature without human intervention. This system has been deployed at government buildings and community facilities, and has proven to be an effective and low-cost solution to aid Singapore's fight against the pandemic.

7. On this note, I am heartened to see many students pursuing engineering subjects at the tertiary level. In 2019 alone, there were about 14,000 engineering graduates from our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), which made up more than a quarter of total graduates that year.

ROLE OF IES IN CONTINUING EDUCATION & TRAINING (CET)

8. Our efforts at grooming the next generation of engineering talent are not just limited to our IHLs. We will support our engineering graduates to continue upskilling even after leaving school, to ensure that their expertise remains up to date, just like Dr Richard Kwok.

9. As part of IES' Continuing Education & Training (CET) efforts, the IES Academy (IESA) has been providing professional development opportunities to its members as well as the public to meet the training needs of our engineering sector. It has trained thousands of participants over the years to attain professional competencies and improve mobility and progression in the sector.

10. As a professional guild, IES is in a position to offer industry-recognised accreditation and progression frameworks. This is crucial to ensure that the sector recognises and rewards skills mastery, and that individuals are motivated to pursue upskilling.

LAUNCH OF THE CHARTERED ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGIST AND TECHNICIAN CERTIFICATION SCHEME

11. Today, with the launch of the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Certification Scheme, technologists and technicians will be able to gain greater recognition for their skills and experience for progression in their careers, regardless of their educational background. This skills-based route will complement our formal higher education pathways.

12. Under the scheme, technologists and technicians can work towards the Chartered Engineer certification by taking up modular training programmes and gaining relevant work experience. The Chartered Engineer certification provides recognition and validation of one's experience, expertise and practising competence, and is supported by many industry leaders. The scheme will therefore pave the way towards greater employability, mobility and professional development for these individuals.

13. I understand that since July 2019, IES has been working closely together with partners from the public sector, private sector and academia to develop the competency-based framework. They have since made good progress in setting up the certification framework in five industry sectors, namely Aerospace, Built Environment, Water and Environmental, Land Transport and Precision Engineering.

CONFERMENT OF THE FIRST BATCH OF CHARTERED TECHNOLOGISTS AND TECHNICIANS

14. This month, IES has conferred the first batch of technologists and technicians from the Land Transport, Built Environment, and Water and Environmental sectors with the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Chartered Engineering Technician certification. Congratulations to all the recipients.

15. In addition, we will be recognising the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Accreditation Board (CETTAB). This is a multi-organisation board set up to serve as the registration, accreditation and quality assurance body. Your invaluable contribution is greatly appreciated.

CONCLUSION

16. With that, it is my pleasure to officially launch the Chartered Engineering Technologist and Technician Certification Scheme. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate IES for setting a positive example for the industries in Singapore and across the world, and I hope that many more sectors will step forward and follow your lead.

17. Thank you.

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