Singapore is expanding its rail network and engineers will be needed to maintain the trains and keep them running smoothly.
The 15,000 figure is an increase of about 60 per cent from the current 9,300 engineers employed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the two rail operators, SMRT and SBS Transit.
Mr Khaw was speaking at the launch of the Singapore Rail Academy (SGRA) at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) at Dover Drive.
He spoke about the challenges faced by engineers in building Singapore's rail network.
By 2030, the network will be 360km long, reaching a rail density that is similar to London and New York today. But the two cities built their rail networks over 100 years while Singapore is building its network in less than half the time.
Mr Khaw said that even as the network expands, the operators are working hard to improve the reliability of the rail system to become among the best in the world. To reach the two goals of rail expansion and rail reliability, Singapore has to grow the pool of engineering expertise, he noted.
Mr Khaw added: "This makes the rail industry a growth industry, whose employment prospects are almost guaranteed in the next decade."
He noted that the role of rail engineers has become more complex over the years, and the academy will help train a new generation of rail engineers.
The academy will allow aspiring engineers and technicians to upgrade and re-skill themselves to join the rail industry. It will also serve as a research and development centre for rail engineering.
To facilitate the academy's work, the LTA signed two agreements yesterday.
The first, with the Employment and Employability Institute, aims to attract, develop and retain the local rail industry workforce.
The second, with SIT and the International Council on Systems Engineering, aims to provide pre-employment training as well as continuing education and training programmes in systems engineering.
The academy has also started to develop a programme to help new and mid-career entrants to the industry develop their technical skills and expose them to functional areas such as design and planning.
This article was first published on Feb 24 , 2017.
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