New programme to help PMETs transform careers

SINGAPORE — A new training programme for mid-career professionals in the infrastructure sector was announced yesterday at the seventh Asia-Singapore Infrastructure Roundtable, organised by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.

Launched in partnership with Workforce Singapore (WSG), the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) for Global Ready Infrastructure Talent (Grit) aims to help professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) develop deep skills in areas such as financing, transactional advice and engineering for global infrastructure projects.

Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) told the roundtable that the Republic’s Committee on the Future Economy had identified infrastructure and urban solutions as a key growth cluster. Asia is projected to require US$1.7 trillion (S$2.3 trillion) in infrastructure investments annually until 2030.

“Singapore has developed a strong and vibrant ecosystem with key enablers that are necessary to support the development of smart and sustainable infrastructure projects,” he said. “From advisory services in engineering, financial and legal fields to project development, companies can tap on the deep and broad expertise available in Singapore to structure their regional infrastructure projects.”

However, based on IE Singapore’s 2016 Internationalisation Survey, Singapore companies lack global experience and specific skill sets.

The Grit programme will support companies keen to recruit mid-career PMETs from other sectors and train them in areas of financing, legal, engineering consultancy and advisory for global infrastructure projects, IE Singapore and WSG said in a statement.

Targeting people who have graduated for at least two years, Grit provides on-the-job training for up to 18 months and exposes participants to global projects. It is applicable to companies across the infrastructure value chain, including banks, project financing firms, infrastructure companies and advisory firms.

WSG will subsidise up to 70 per cent of the salary, capped at S$4,000 for newly hired trainees. There are currently 30 openings from 12 companies. Enhanced salary support is available for Singapore Citizen PMETs aged 40 and above or actively seeking employment for six months or more, up to 90 per cent of monthly salary, capped at S$6,000 per month.

Mr Lee Ark Boon, chief executive officer of IE Singapore, said: “Singapore must leverage our strengths in planning, engineering, financial and legal services to capture Asia’s tremendous infrastructure opportunities, particularly through the Belt and Road Initiative. However, currently we do not have enough local talent as project development and structuring is cross-disciplinary and complex.

“Through the PCP for Grit, we will partner local enterprises to build local talents with specific customised skill sets to help companies embark on infrastructure projects overseas.”

Yamato Technologies is one of the companies participating in the Grit programme. It recently partnered First Quezon Biogas Corporation to launch its first Design, Build, Own and Operate project in the Philippines.

Yamato managing director Taher Uddin said the Grit programme offers “the support to start developing the right manpower to carry out our overseas expansion strategy”.

Mr Liang Dong Tzy, 37, used to work in hospitality before joining the Grit programme. He now works for Yamato. “It was nerve-wracking changing industries and job roles, but the programme provides clear, structured training to make the transition smoother,” he said.

Published in TODAY, September 27 2017. 

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