SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has launched a $12.5 million fund to attract and develop talent for the public transport industry.

This will help meet the rise in demand for industry professionals, like engineers and technicians, as Singapore doubles its rail network to 360km by 2030.

The Public Transport Manpower Development Fund will over the next three years be used for the development of industry-relevant programmes, sponsorship of study awards and setting up of new training facilities, such as labs and simulators.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo, who announced the fund on Monday (Nov 9), said that Singapore's rail expansion plans must be supported by building up a core of local talents who can design, develop, operate and maintain a rail system that is comprehensive and reliable.

"Indeed, we expect the rail sector to add thousands more engineers and technicians to supplement the nearly 7,000 existing staff. I will not be surprised if over the next 15 years we doubled our rail professional workforce," she said.

Besides attracting new entrants to the industry through courses such as ITE's Higher Nitec in Rapid Transit Engineering, which was launched in April, courses are also available for mid-career professionals.

In October, Singapore Polytechnic launched a part-time programme leading to a diploma in engineering (rapid transit technology).