Singapore focuses on maritime training for seafaring sector

Adam Foster
Adam Foster

27 April 2018


The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), Singapore Maritime Employers Federation (SMEF), Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union (SMOU) and Singapore Organisation of Seamen (SOS) aimed at developing human capital for the seafaring sector.

The collaboration will focus on:

  • identifying new competencies and skills required to operate the next generation of ships;
  • enhancing the current training syllabus; and
  • developing Singapore as a maritime training hub.

Inked at the 3rd Maritime Human Resource (HR) Forum earlier today, the MOU signing was witnessed by over 200 senior management and HR leaders in the maritime sector, industry associations, unions, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and government agencies.

Andrew Tan, Chief Executive, MPA said, “The face of ports, shipping and the maritime industry is changing with the advent of automation, new technologies and business models. This MOU reflects a strong commitment by the government, industry and unions working together to identify the skill gaps, and to train and upskill the maritime workforce for the future economy.”

The 3rd Maritime HR Forum consisted of presentations and a panel discussion centred on the theme – “Enabling Industry Transformation Through Human Capital Development”, as well as an exhibition by MPA, NUS SCALE, Singapore Polytechnic, SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore. The exhibition was a joint initiative to provide participants with an overview of the various manpower initiatives available to employers and individuals.

At the panel discussion, HR leaders and industry experts from Alpha Ori Technologies, A.P Moller-Maersk, Cheng Xin ShipManagement, Klaveness Asia, Kuehne+Nagel and Mercer shared their experiences and insights on how technology has enabled them to improve training and operations. The panellists also discussed how HR plays a critical role in organisational change and how good HR practices can lead to improved talent attraction, development and retention.

To help locals take advantage of opportunities in the maritime industry and build a future-ready workforce with relevant skills, a new Specialist Diploma course in Maritime Superintendency was launched at the forum.
The course, which will begin its first intake in October 2018, was developed by a working group comprising representatives from DNV GL, MPA, Marine Engineers, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), Singapore Polytechnic, SSA and Society of Naval Architect.

The Specialist Diploma course, which is funded by SkillsFuture Singapore, provides participants with the relevant knowledge and technical skills to plan and coordinate operations from shore. It will facilitate sea-to-shore transition for experienced seafarers, and career conversion for mid-careerists from relevant fields such as mechanical engineering. Graduates will be awarded a nationally-recognised Specialist Diploma by Singapore Polytechnic.

Tan added, “Graduates today expect well-structured career progression pathways and wage growth. They look forward to working in an environment which is flexible and where they have control over their own development. Companies that can successfully navigate these changes and learn how to tap on the potential of these different workforce segments will stand a better chance of attracting the best talents.”

Companies keen to enhance their HR and manpower capabilities may tap on MPA’s Maritime Cluster Fund, which was recently topped up by S$100 million to support the maritime industry’s transformation efforts.