Mr Saktiandi Supaat: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what are the demographics of the employees, including gender breakdown, in the energy and petrochemical sector; (b) what are the life-long learning opportunities in this sector; and (c) what is the Ministry doing to encourage more young Singaporeans to take an interest in this sector.
1. The Energy & Chemicals (E&C) industry contributes about 3% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs about 28,000 people in 2017, with the majority in their 30s and 40s, a PMET to non-PMET split of about 3:1, as well as a male to female split of about 2:1.
2. As our industries upgrade and transform, the Government is also making concerted efforts to help equip our workforce with the relevant skills to address the evolving needs of the industry. The Skills Framework for E&C was jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and EDB, in collaboration with the industry, education and training institutions as well as unions. It provides key information about the sector, including career pathways, occupations and job roles, as well as existing and emerging skills required for our workforce to deepen their competencies. It also provides a corresponding list of training programmes for skills upgrading and mastery.
3. In addition, the Government is also investing in new training programmes by developing niche capabilities modules with our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). For example, the advanced diploma in Specialty Chemicals launched by Singapore Polytechnic in 2017, complementing the other suite of programmes in ITE College East, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Nanyang Polytechnic and Temasek Polytechnic.
4. To attract young talent to join the E&C industry, the Chemical Industry Manpower Advisory Committee (Chimac), co-chaired by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore Chemical Industry Council (SCIC), have been organising outreach programmes for schools, polytechnics and universities. One example is the “Chemical Experience Day” which exposes students to the working environment on Jurong Island and provides a glimpse into a day in the industry. On the Government’s part, four SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes (ELP) have been launched for job roles such as process technicians and laboratory analysts. The ELP is a work-learn programme that provides polytechnic and ITE fresh graduates opportunities to build on the skills and knowledge that they have acquired in school. As of December 2018, 134 trainees have been placed in 23 E&C companies.
5. The growth of the E&C industry requires the collective effort of Government, industry and unions as well as our workers. We will continue to work with the various industry stakeholders to attract and equip our workers with the relevant skillsets to participate in the next phase of the E&C industry.