A pilot initiative to grow Singapore's medical technology (medtech) industry was launched yesterday by the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA).

Known as the MedTech Industry Transformation Initiative (Miti), it aims to increase overall productivity and value of jobs through process redesign and training, and drive wage increments to attract and retain talent.

It is expected to benefit about 1,500 workers in the industry.

e2i and WDA will set aside $10 million over the next two years to fund Miti.

For the pilot phase, three medtech companies - Baxter Healthcare, Becton Dickinson Medical and Edwards Lifesciences - which collectively employ 40 per cent of the total medtech industry workforce in Singapore have taken the lead to participate in the initiative.

"These companies will look into the upgrading of their work processes and technologies through productivity-driven initiatives, and skills upgrading of their workforce to provide better career development for their employees," a Miti spokesman told The Business Times.

He added that 10 companies are expected to come on board Miti's initial phase over the next two years.

"We will evaluate the programme during these two years. If it is successful, we will push for more funds to get more companies on board," the spokesman said.

S Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs, and Trade and Industry, also spoke at the launch yesterday.

He said that Singapore is facing increasing competition as Asian countries with lower cost structures start to build up their medtech industries.

"For the Singapore medtech industry to remain globally competitive, we need to differentiate ourselves in terms of innovation, quality and value," Mr Iswaran said.

"We also need to up- skill the jobs . . . to meet the aspirations and maximise the potential of an increasingly well-educated Singapore workforce, and to ensure that the growth of this sector is sustainable."

Singapore's medtech industry has more than doubled its manufacturing output from $1.86 billion in 2002 to $4.25 billion in 2012.

The number of employees in the sector has doubled as well to 10,000 today compared to a decade ago.