Mr Charles Quek, President, Association of Process Industry (ASPRI),
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. A good evening to all of you. The festive season always offers precious time to bond with our family and friends, and to renew old ties even as we develop new ones. I am happy to join you tonight for this joyous celebration bringing together various stakeholders in the process industry and giving us the opportunity to re-affirm old friendships and develop new ones as we forge ahead in the new year.
Resilience of the Process Industry
2. The Energy and Chemicals industry is an important pillar of Singapore’s manufacturing sector, contributing 27% of our total manufacturing output in 2017. While the industry faced challenging and volatile market conditions over the past decade, with an average annual growth in total output of about 2%, there has been encouraging growth in its value-added to the economy which averaged about 6% annually over the same period. This is testament to the resilience and resourcefulness of our businesses in the process industry. I believe this spirit will continue to serve you well as we press on with our industry transformation journey.
Recognising ASPRI – Efforts to Advance the Industry
3. Proactive trade associations and chambers (TACs) like ASPRI play an important role in catalysing the transformation of the industry by encouraging mindset changes in their member companies to upgrade their capabilities and upskill their workers in partnership with the labour movement. To this end, I am glad that ASPRI has undertaken notable initiatives in the past year to improve worker safety and productivity, and build capability for businesses and workers in the industry.
4. One such initiative is the provision of residential facilities for workers. Working with the Process Construction & Maintenance Management Committee (PCMMC) that is jointly led by the Government and industry, ASPRI launched the ASPRI-Westlite Papan Dormitory on Jurong Island in January last year. Since its launch, it has helped to improve the safety and productivity of close to 8,000 workers by reducing worker fatigue from commuting to and from Jurong Island.
5. Over the past year, ASPRI also organised training for business owners and executives with more than 40 partners and various Government agencies to facilitate capability development in areas such as HR, Finance, Digitialisation and Internationalisation. Through its training arm, the Institute of Process Industry, and the ASPRI Integrated Training Centre (AITC) which is co-located with the dormitories, ASPRI has also increased the accessibility of worker training in the industry. In 2018, the AITC delivered a record number of more than 260,000 training hours provided to 27,000 individuals. Additionally, ASPRI launched a programme last year in partnership with e2i and Uniweld to enhance the training for process welders through the use of a Soldamatic Augmented Reality Welding System. Looking ahead, I understand that ASPRI will be rolling out 13 craft-specific Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) courses by June 2019, aligned with MOM’s enhanced guidelines for the sector which Mr Charles Quek spoke about earlier.
Upgrading, Upskilling and Internationalising to Remain Competitive
6. ASPRI’s efforts to encourage businesses to upgrade capabilities and upskill workers demonstrate that the association understands what it takes to stay competitive in the global economy. It is also working closely with Enterprise Singapore to do more. I would like to encourage our businesses in the process industry to tap on the good work that ASPRI has done and leverage its networks to deepen your capabilities and move up the value chain. I hope you can continue to invest in upskilling your workers so your business can take full advantage of the transformation brought forth by technology and capture the best value out of it.
7. In tandem with upgrading enterprise capabilities and upskilling workers, businesses can also expand opportunities through collaborations and venturing into new markets. While there is an existing market within Singapore, there are limitations if a company wants to scale up. I understand that there is a good spread of specialities across the value chain amongst ASPRI members. I encourage you to take advantage of complementary capabilities and band together to capture new opportunities, both locally and overseas. At the same time, I hope that you can develop a sense of camaraderie amongst Singaporean businesses to support one another as you pursue new ventures. 所谓, “在家靠父母，出外靠朋友”. As the Chinese saying goes, when we are home we rely on our parents for support, but when we are out making a living, we need to rely on the support of friends to get by. I believe many of you here are already friends and I hope you can advance your friendships as you deepen existing connections with one another to seize new opportunities.
8. The Government remains committed to support you in your journey through our suite of programmes catered to different business needs at different stages of growth.
9. On this note I would like to wish all of you a prosperous and bountiful Year of the Pig ahead. May the new year bring you good fortune and health as you take your businesses to greater heights!
10. Thank you.
12 FEB 2019