New training programme to attract Singapore workers to the harbour craft sector

New training programme to attract Singapore workers to the harbour craft sector
File photo of a Cosco container vessel being unloaded at the Singapore Port.

SINGAPORE - The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) today announced a new training programme designed to attract Singaporeans into the harbour craft sector as tug masters.

This new initiative was announced by Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport, at the graduation ceremony of the Certificate of Competency (CoC) (Special Limits) programme held today.

The 15-month Port Limit Tug Master Programme will cover both theoretical and practical training to groom Singaporeans into harbour craft tug masters, who play an important role in the efficient movement of ocean-going vessels entering, berthing, un-berthing and leaving the Port of Singapore.

Currently, there is no structured training programme to train helmsmen to operate tugboats. Towage companies take more than two years to groom a tug master through on-job-training.

With good performance and work experience of about five years, the tug master can further upgrade to become a shore-based operations controller or trainer. In addition, tug masters who aspire to become a Special Limit Deck officers can qualify for the Special Limit Deck Officer programme if they complete a further 24 months of sea service.

The first intake of the new tug master programme will commence in the third quarter of 2014 and is expected to groom 50 tug masters over the next two years.

"The harbour craft sector is an important part of the maritime industry and a good source of employment for Singaporeans. It offers viable career opportunities with good pay and job advancement prospects. We are pleased to work with e2i, WDA, partners from the industry and the unions, to roll out new programmes to attract more Singaporeans to the harbour craft sector," says Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA.

Since 2011, MPA, WDA and e2i have committed close to $12 million to groom Singaporeans to take up seafaring careers on board vessels that sail in and around Singapore, under the CoC (Special Limits) Place-and-Train programmes for Deck Officers and Marine Engineer Officers.

A total of 44 seafaring officers graduated from the pioneering batches of the Deck Officer and Marine Engineer (Special Limits) training programmes. Mrs Teo today presented officer insignias to 19 of the 44 graduates who passed their professional exams and obtained their Certificates of Competency.

The CoC (Special Limits) programmes have attracted a total of 155 deck cadets and 57 engineer cadets to date.

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