Boosting Manpower Development in the Public Transport Industry

News Releases 09 Nov 2015 Public Transport Manpower Development Fund (PTMDF) Public Transport Sectoral Tripartite Committee (PTSTC)

Government to invest $12.5 million in manpower development initiatives

The Land Transport Authority (LTA), the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and the public transport operators (PTOs), have jointly developed a series of industry-wide manpower development initiatives to attract, develop and retain talent in the public transport industry.

2. Over the next three years, LTA will invest $12.5 million in the Public Transport Manpower Development Fund (PTMDF) to fund these initiatives, which will be overseen by the Public Transport Sectoral Tripartite Committee (PTSTC)1. These include the development of more industry-relevant programmes, sponsorship of study awards and training grants, a skills-based progression framework, as well as an industry-wide branding of the sector.

3. Said LTA Chief Executive, Mr Chew Men Leong, “The public transport industry will be growing over the next 15 years at least as we double our rail network and expand our bus services. To support this growth, we are looking for individuals who are ready to make a difference and equipping them with the right skillsets.  Through these public transport manpower development initiatives, we hope to enlarge the manpower pipeline, as well as to provide sufficient upgrading development opportunities for better retention and career progression.”

Developing Manpower Capabilities for the Public Transport Industry

4. To attract and develop talent for the rail industry, the PTSTC has been partnering the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and universities to develop and broaden education and training programmes. This initiative is in line with the SkillsFuture movement to provide individuals with opportunities to develop to their fullest potential and make well-informed choices in education, training and careers based on skills and mastery. The programmes cover a wide spectrum from pre-employment training to continuing education and training programmes, to appeal to both current students, experienced professionals considering a mid-career switch, as well as existing employees.

5. In April 2015, ITE launched the Higher NITEC in Rapid Transit Engineering programme with 40 students. In addition, Singapore Polytechnic, in collaboration with the WDA, will also roll out a new SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn programme for Rapid Transit Technology in 20162.

6. For mid-careerists, Singapore Polytechnic introduced a new part-time Diploma in Engineering (Rapid Transit Technology) programme this October, targeted at adult learners with NITEC or Higher NITEC qualifications who wish to upgrade their knowledge/skills for an Assistant Engineer-level position3.

7. Diploma graduates and mid-career professionals can also enrol in Singapore Institute of Technology’s Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering course with a focus on rail systems. The programme offers a work component of at least eight months with the rail operators to allow students to apply their knowledge in the classroom in their workplace. The course attracted 80 applicants for the 50 available spaces when it launched last year.

Provision of Awards and Grants to Benefit Students and Experienced Professionals

8. With the launch of PTMDF, LTA and the public transport rail operators will co-fund PT Industry Study Awards and training grants for taking railway engineering-related programmes. Up to about $2 million is expected to be disbursed every year, benefiting some 450 students and professionals. Application will be opened to students and experienced professionals from 2016.

9. LTA will also provide seed grants for the development of new programmes and training facilities such as labs and simulators to facilitate the teaching of industry-relevant railway engineering programmes. Singapore Polytechnic will be among the first to benefit with the set-up of the Rapid Transit Technology Lab to train course practitioners and improve the delivery of their courses. Besides housing train model system and simulation facilities, the Lab could also allow some applied research to be undertaken at the polytechnic level.

Skills-Based Progression Framework for Engineers in the Rail Industry

10. The PTSTC will also establish a skills-based progression framework to better recognise skills and competencies. One of the priorities of this framework is to establish common standards for engineering, operations and maintenance, as well as to recognise these standards professionally. In this regard, LTA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in May 2015 with WDA, the Institution of Engineers Singapore and the public transport operators to establish a chartership for the accreditation of the railway engineering profession. 

Promotion of the Public Transport Industry

11. To create further awareness and boost the image for both the rail and bus sectors, starting next year, LTA will also carry out an industry-wide branding and promotion exercise. This will include joint career talks/fairs and internships with public transport operators to attract potential talent.


1 Formalised in August 2015, the PTSTC is chaired by Mrs Josephine Teo, Senior Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport, with members comprising senior officers from the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Manpower, Land Transport Authority, Workforce Development Agency, National Transport Workers' Union, and the public transport operators.

2 Under the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme for Rapid Transit Technology, ITE graduates will be matched to suitable employers and will undergo a work-study programme comprising structured on-the-job training, classroom training and e-learning, leading to industry-recognised certifications. Three outreach sessions have been conducted thus far with more than 140 ITE students expressing interest in taking up the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn programme. 

3 Students enrolled in Singapore Polytechnic’s Diploma in Engineering (Rapid Transit Technology) programme will also be eligible to apply for SkillsFuture Study Awards worth $5,000 per recipient.

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