September 23, 2019

In September 2019, IBSA CEO Sharon Robertson and Senior Manager Industry Insights, Juliana Potulic travelled to Singapore to better understand how Singapore was able to transform it’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system and build the technical skills base of the country. With manufacturing accounting for around one fifth of Singapore’s economy and employing close to 15% of the workforce, IBSA also met with key Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing stakeholders to gather insights into the challenges and industry skills needs in Singapore and across the Asia Pacific region.

Insights into Singapore’s VET System
In 2017, Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy released a seven-point national Economic Strategy with a vision ‘to be the pioneers of the next generation’. The second strategy focuses on skills development – specifically vocational skills so that the future economy and workforce of Singapore ‘have deep skills and be inspired to learn throughout their lives.’

IBSA met with a number of key organisations in the Singapore VET system who work cooperatively to deliver on this vision and strategy and ensure industries skills needs are met. Meetings were held with:

  • Institute of Technical Education (ITE) a post-secondary institution and principal provider of VET in Singapore. ITE are also the principal authority in developing national occupational skills certification and standards to enhance Singapore’s workforce competitiveness, locally and globally.
  • SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) which drives and coordinates the implementation of national Skills Frameworks and is responsible for strengthening the ecosystem of quality education and training in Singapore.
  • Workforce Singapore (WSG) who oversee the transformation of the local workforce and industry to meet ongoing economic challenges and manage programs to match job seekers to industry as well as professional conversion for employees.

IBSA looks forward to working closely with these key stakeholders in the future as the Australian VET sector continues to evolve.

Aerospace Asia Pacific Insights
IBSA, along with 600 international delegates, attended the Asia Pacific Airline Training Symposium in Singapore. The opening key note presentations from Boeing and Cathay Pacific detailed the key role the Asia Pacific region will have in the anticipated global growth of the industry as both a consumer and provider of aviation services. The presentations also highlighted the key challenges for the Aerospace industry included meeting anticipated technical skills shortages, managing environmental impact and performance and increasing female participation rates which are currently less than 5%.

Sharon Robertson presenting at APATS

IBSA CEO Sharon Robertson’s presentation focused on the work of the Aerospace Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and how IBSA is supporting the industry to combat skills shortages in Australia through alignment of the Aeroskills Training Package to meet national and international aviation standards. A number of international delegates were very interested in the work of our IRC as many countries are facing similar challenges.

To better understand simulated training environments IBSA visited the Airbus Asian training centre in Singapore and witnessed full flight simulators in action.  The Head of Airbus Maintenance Training also gave a demonstration of their recently launched Maintenance ACT (Airbus Competence Training) system which utilises simulation and immersive user technologies to train maintenance engineers on different aircraft.

The insights gathered from the symposium and site visit will be used to inform IRC work going forward.

Singapore’s Advanced Manufacturing Context
As in Australia, Singapore’s manufacturers are under increasing pressure from regional competition, rising business costs and a tight labour market. Despite these challenges, manufacturing has been a key driver behind overall productivity growth in Singapore. While much of this improvement is attributable to stronger global economic growth and demand for Singapore’s manufactured exports, the government’s Economic Development Board cites companies’ efforts to implement advanced manufacturing technologies as also contributing to the improved performance.

IBSA’s week in Singapore was rounded off with meetings focusing on the Advanced Manufacturing context in Singapore which included the:

  • Economic Development Board (EDB) who set government strategies for different industries including manufacturing. The EDB have recently launched a Smart Industry Readiness Index – a tool to assist manufacturers to take the first step on their Industry 4.0 transformation.
  • FESTO-Didactic Asia Pacific who have developed a number of Industry 4.0 courses and qualifications to provide participants with key concepts as well as hands on experience with new technologies.

IBSA looks forward to continue to develop the relationships with key stakeholders established during our recent visit to Singapore to further inform our Training Package development and organisational capabilities as the Australian VET, Aerospace and Manufacturing sectors continue to evolve.

Juliana Potulic and Sharon Robertson with senior Airbus Personnel including Asia Pacific General Manager and Head of Airbus Maintenance Training