Singapore Seeks To Spotlight Manufacturing Sector

Singapore economic/education group promoting manufacturing as a career; economic board to create 15,000 manufacturing jobs annually.

In a joint initiative to promote Singapore’s manufacturing sector, Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) have recently kicked off the “EDB-MOE Industry Tours” or EMIT.

Launched in May 2006, the program, targeted at local educators and career counselors, aims to highlight Singapore as a manufacturing hub, as well as highlight the importance of manufacturing in bolstering Singapore’s economy.

At present, 200 junior college teachers and career counselors have signed up for the tours, which also include participation from Mitsui Chemicals, Hewlett-Packard, Pfizer, SIA Engineering Co. and United Microelectronics Corp., among others.

“Singapore has a strong and robust manufacturing sector,” says Chan Soo Sen, Singapore’s Minister of State for Education and Trade and Industry. “Many engineers and technology graduates will be required to drive the sector forward. This is where teachers and career counselors can play an important role as our interface with the students. They can help shape, influence and convey the correct information to them about manufacturing.”

In particular, according to Chan, it is necessary to address the perception that manufacturing is linked to “low-end, labor-intensive jobs,” since in reality, Singapore’s manufacturing culture has “evolved tremendously over the last 40 years, from a labor-intensive culture to an increasingly high-tech, research and knowledge-based one.”

By 2018, EDB is seeking to double total manufacturing output to $191 billion and raise skill profiles of manufacturing workers from 30 percent to 50 percent. To meet these goals, EDB expects to create about 15,000 manufacturing jobs annually.

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