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Singapore: Navigating the Future of Maritime Workforce

During the recently concluded Singapore Maritime Week, the significance of talent development in the maritime sector was emphasised. Workers will need to learn new skills and embrace new practices because of digitalisation, technology adoption, and environmental sustainability; failing to adapt could result in lost business and jobs.

Talent development and lifelong learning are essential to this change, and Singapore shared its expertise in collaborating with business leaders, labour organisations, and higher education institutions to develop a strong and future-ready workforce.

“The nature of work in the maritime industry is changing with digitalisation and the emergence of new and more advanced green technologies. We need to identify new skills for our maritime workforce. This is an important first step, but it is only the first step,” says Senior Minister of State for Transport, Chee Hong Tat.

The Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) has published the Maritime Workforce Transformation Guidebook, which provides a practical approach for companies in the maritime industry to redesign jobs to attract more talent.

A professional services firm was tasked with providing guidance by implementing their job redesign methodology to update the value propositions of the two technical roles, plan interventions across career development, improve work processes, and encourage digital adoption.

“The team demonstrated that traditional maritime roles can be redesigned to strengthen employees’ value propositions, allowing them to seize opportunities in new job roles including in sustainability and digitalisation areas,” said Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

In addition, the MaritimeONE-Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI) Postgraduate Research & Development Scholarship will be given to high-potential Singaporean and Permanent Resident (PR) students who want to become researchers in fields related to decarbonisation and digitalisation. The scholarship will pay for the student’s entire PhD or Master’s degree.

The goal of the Scholarship is to make the maritime R&D environment even stronger and build a pipeline of local talent to improve research in key areas like digitalisation and cutting carbon emissions. After finishing their postgraduate studies, the students will work in different maritime Centres of Excellence.

With this, Singaporeans who are interested in Emissions Management, Chemical Engineering, Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and many other areas are urged by MPA to apply for this scholarship when it opens for applications later this year.

By the end of 2025, SMI plans to give out up to nine awards worth a total of S$2.8 million. The goal of these scholarships is to build a strong pool of local maritime research talent to improve Singapore’s R&D skills as a global maritime knowledge hub. In the fourth quarter of 2023, people will be able to apply for the grant.

Also, for the first time this year, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will take part in the MPA-Global Internship Award (GIA). This year’s GIA will be awarded to 39 students from four local universities studying in business, information systems, arts and social sciences, and maritime studies. From May 2023, they will begin on-the-job training with 28 maritime host companies.

Students will also have the chance to be attached to the firms’ foreign offices, where they will be exposed to a variety of maritime employment tasks, including chartering and ship operations, shipbroking, data analytics, and marine insurance. Over 300 undergraduate students have completed the MPA-GIA programme to date.


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