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Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at JTC's inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Day

Speech by SMS Chee Hong Tat at JTC's inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Day

Mr Ng Lang, CEO of JTC,

Professor Ling San, Provost of Nanyang Technological University,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good afternoon.  I am happy to attend JTC’s inaugural Advanced Manufacturing Day and witness the launch of the NTU-JTC Industry Talent Development Programme.

Advanced manufacturing enhances our competitiveness and provides exciting opportunities

2. There are dark clouds in the current global economic environment, including factors which are beyond our control.  The Government will continue to closely monitor the situation and we stand ready to work with our businesses and workers.  It is important that we do not take our foot off the pedal in transforming our economy and upgrading the skills of our workers.  These are key drivers for Singapore’s long-term competitiveness and whether our people can continue to have good jobs and a good standard of living in the future.      

3. We will press on with our efforts to grow Advanced Manufacturing as a key sector in our economy.  The nature of manufacturing is changing with the adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, 3D printing and the Internet of Things. 

4. Our target is to keep manufacturing at around 20% of Singapore’s GDP, but the nature of our manufacturing industries will be different.  Singapore is not a low-cost manufacturing base, but we can compete on other dimensions such as quality, value and speed, leveraging our advantages in trust, connectivity and talent.  This is why MNCs like Rolls-Royce and Dyson have chosen to locate their high-end manufacturing activities in Singapore, and why local companies from precision engineering to food manufacturing are able to grow their presence in overseas markets.    

5. We are making this transition from a position of strength.  Our sustained investments over the years in infrastructure, R&D and education have developed capabilities and centres of excellence which allow us to seize the opportunities which advanced manufacturing will bring.     

JID to catalyse the growth of advanced manufacturing
 
6. The development of Jurong Innovation District (JID) represents a further step forward to achieve our ambition for Singapore to be a hub for advanced manufacturing.  It is a significant investment to create a one-stop campus to catalyse the growth of an advanced manufacturing community comprising both local and foreign companies.  Located near residential estates like Jurong West and the future Tengah town, as well as NTU and the future Tuas Port, JID will provide companies with convenient access to talent, research facilities and international supply chains. 

7. The development of JID is on track.  Companies such as Sodick from Japan, BeAM from France and Ultimaker from the Netherlands have set up 3D printing technology centres in JID to encourage the sharing of knowledge and resources, and to provide valuable consultancy workshops for companies looking to adopt 3D printing technologies.  Other technology providers are in discussions with JTC on setting up their operations here, and I look forward to welcoming them to join this vibrant ecosystem of technology enablers in JID.   
               
New NTU-JTC Industry Talent Development Programme to develop skills critical to advanced manufacturing

8. People remain the most critical element in our efforts to build a successful advanced manufacturing hub.  Investments in technology and infrastructure must go hand in hand with investments in our workers, so that they are equipped with the right skills to support companies in their growth and transformation.  We also want to ensure that Singaporean workers are well-prepared to take on the many exciting job opportunities in advanced manufacturing.  These are good jobs offering good pay and good career prospects.    

9. The NTU-JTC Industry Talent Development Programme is an important initiative to achieve this outcome.  The programme, which launches today with an inaugural batch of eight industry partners, will equip undergraduates with Advanced Manufacturing skills and competencies through industry internships and projects.  At the same time, participating companies will be able to build up a talent pipeline to support their growth.  Over 200 NTU students are expected to benefit from the programme in the first two years.  I am confident the numbers will increase further in future years, if there is continued support from employers and students.  

Housing the full manufacturing value chain to build a strong community

10. Another success factor is how we can bring the JID community together, to collaborate and work together, and to grow together.  Innovative ideas are sparked from people-to-people interactions, and the advanced manufacturing sector in Singapore will grow stronger as we leverage one another’s strengths, experiences and networks. 

11. This is why we are designing JID to house the full manufacturing value chain end-to-end, from leading companies to incubators and startups, as well as research institutes and government agencies.  With NTU being part of JID, companies can collaborate with researchers from the university to test and develop new products that push the boundaries of manufacturing.  We want to accelerate the flow of ideas, R&D findings and new technologies from the laboratories into commercial applications.
    
12. To achieve this, JTC will play an active role in building a collaborative JID community.  Beyond locating stakeholders in the same district, we want to actively break down barriers, both physical and non-physical, and promote more interactions and partnerships between companies to collaborate and innovate together.  Today’s Advanced Manufacturing Day is a good example – JTC has brought together partners such as the McKinsey Digital Capability Centre to share with other industry partners on Industry 4.0 Transformation and Job Redesign.   Companies can also look forward to first-hand experiences of Sodick Techno Centre’s latest 3D printing technologies.  I encourage our companies to use this opportunity to learn from one another, exchange ideas, and build stronger capabilities together as part of a world-class advanced manufacturing centre in JID.  

Conclusion

13. The future with advanced manufacturing is an exciting one.  How we make and deliver products will be dramatically reshaped, and the new technologies will open up many possibilities.  The Government will continue to work closely with our industry partners and Institutes of Higher Learning to support the training and upskilling of our existing workers and next generation workforce. 

14. Once again, congratulations to JTC, NTU and all partners on the launch of this new programme.  I am confident it will bear fruit and we look forward to having more industry partners coming on board.

15. Thank you. 
 
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