Former sales executive has no regrets moving into a new industry
Former sales executive says marine sector has potential to grow
When his friend referred him to a company in the marine industry, the technical sales executive decided to make the move as he felt confident about its potential for growth.
Two years on and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr George Wee is happy with his role in ICF International.
The ship refurbishment company has secured contracts to enhance medical centres on board 'cruises to nowhere'.
Mr Wee, 39, who is now a production assistant manager, told The New Paper yesterday: "The marine industry (has been) picking up faster than other industries such as aviation, and has the potential to grow further."
Mr Wee's production department is in charge of refurbishment aspects such as furniture and painting, and sourcing for suppliers of various ship requirements.
Business continued even during the circuit breaker as they had customers such as smaller ferry boats. Now, with the cruise industry opening up - in Singapore and other parts of the world like the United States - Mr Wee sees the industry's growth potential.
Requirements to beef up the medical capabilities on board mean Mr Wee and his team have been busy over the last two months, converting rooms into medical facilities.
When he first joined the company, Mr Wee enrolled in a six-month professional conversion programme (PCP) for marine engineers. "This programme helped me understand what my job scope and requirements were," he said.
Simultaneous on-the-job training saw him travel to Germany, where he learnt from his ICF International counterparts about other requirements of the industry.
In her latest job report, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said that to encourage more mid-career individuals to enter the marine and offshore industry, Workforce Singapore offers PCP programmes for marine engineers, marine assistant engineers and marine technicians.
Mrs Teo said: "Even though the sector requires highly-skilled manpower, employers and mid-career individuals can tap PCPs or company-hosted traineeships and attachments to help lower the barriers to entry and ease their transition."
Sembcorp Marine engineer embraced reskilling for a new role
Being in the company for 15 years did not deter an engineer from change.
As the industry pivoted towards growth areas such as renewables and gas solutions, Sembcorp Marine started reskilling workers like Mr Steven Lee to shift them into new roles created from the transformation.
Mr Lee, 38, and his colleagues were enrolled in a structured six-month redeployment professional conversion programme for marine engineers.
The programme gave him the technical skills to transit from supporting the engineering design of oil rigs to supporting the construction and commissioning of floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels and other liquefied natural gas projects.
The engineering design assistant manager said: "I am a firm believer in lifelong learning. It is important to be open and hungry for knowledge."
During his visit to Sembcorp Marine yesterday, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that the marine and offshore sector has been working together with the Singapore Economic Development Board, Enterprise Singapore and the Association of Singapore Marine Industries to grow new capabilities in new verticals like liquefied natural gas and offshore wind.
"Global investments in renewable energy have grown significantly this year... creating many good opportunities in this area," Mr Chan said. - SAMUEL DEVARAJ
Marine and offshore sector can pivot to new areas for growth: Chan
The marine and offshore sector is facing challenging times, but it can still pivot to new areas for long-term growth, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing yesterday.
The sector includes services Singapore provides to meet the worldwide demand for ship repair, shipbuilding, rig-building and offshore engineering, as well as oilfield equipment manufacturing and the building and chartering of offshore supply vessels.
Mr Chan noted that the industry is being hit by a sharp fall in global demand for oil because of the reduction in air travel and transportation during the pandemic. This year, the International Energy Agency estimated that global demand for oil will drop by 8.4 per cent - the largest fall in history. Production is also expected to fall to a 15-year low.
"Because of this, the demand for offshore rigs, with the cancellation or delay of existing projects, will threaten the rig-building industry... It is therefore very important for our industry to have the engineering capabilities to pivot to new areas," he said.
Growth areas include liquefied natural gas, offshore wind, and smart and digital products.
Mr Chan added: "Today, the industry is competing on the basis that it has the design capabilities and quality assurance that allow shipyards in Singapore to integrate parts of production from all around the world to be assembled and qualified in Singapore. And that is how we make a mark for ourselves.
"Notwithstanding the short-term challenges, we still see prospects for this industry going forward, into the new areas of engineering solutions required by the rest of the world." - THE STRAITS TIMES
Impressive jump in available jobs in manufacturing sector
The manufacturing sector is showing surprising resilience in the midst of the pandemic, ramping up its output and churning out more jobs. There were 6,370 jobs available in the middle of last month - almost double the 3,200 job openings at end-August.
The sector has emerged as a bright spot in the recession-hit economy.
In September, Singapore's manufacturing output rose by 24.2 per cent, compared with the same month last year - the biggest year-on-year increase since December 2011.
The growth was driven mainly by the biomedical manufacturing and electronics sub-sectors. They continue to require workers to take on new roles in areas such as automation and data analytics, to support their business transformation efforts.
Outreach efforts have been stepped up to enable this, and the results have been encouraging, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.
Placements into manufacturing have almost tripled from end-June, she added. - THE STRAITS TIMES