Workers in the public transport industry will get more help identifying the skills they need to stay employable and relevant in the sector, along with career pathways and training opportunities.

The Skills Framework for Public Transport, which was launched on Wednesday (May 30), will also support the growth in manpower in the industry, with 8,000 new jobs expected to be created by 2030.

There are currently 21,000 workers in the bus and rail industry, but more are required as the train network is expanded and more investment is poured into the bus sector.

A total of 87 job roles have been identified under the framework, categorised along four different career tracks - rail operations, rail engineering, bus operations and bus fleet engineering.

Senior Minister of State for Transport, Dr Janil Puthucheary, who launched the framework at the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i), said that the public transport sector faces disruption from new technologies such as autonomous vehicles.

The skills framework, he said, will allow workers to remain relevant and marketable, and for training institutes and unions to be responsive to the changing needs of the industry.

“The skills framework is a very important platform to bring together the unions, the employers, as well as the training providers and Government, to see how we can maximise opportunities for every individual worker to progress (in their) career, but also to move sideways,” he told the media. 

The framework will be reviewed at least every two years, Dr Janil said, to stay up to date with changes in the industry. 

Even with increasing automation and the emergence of self-driving technologies, he said that humans will still be required to oversee operations and to ensure the safety and security of passengers.

While SBS Transit already has a career progression scheme for its bus captains – giving them opportunities to become driving instructors and to work in the operations control centre and interchanges – chief executive Gan Juay Kiat said that the firm will look to add more courses.

“With the launch of the skills framework, we have the structure where workers can see the various career paths available, the various skillsets they need... and where they can progress,” Mr Gan added.

The framework, encapsulated in a 140-page document, is jointly developed by SkillsFuture Singapore, Workforce Singapore and the Land Transport Authority, together with the involvement of public transport operators, education and training providers and the National Transport Workers' Union.

It details the job descriptions, and well as technical skills and competencies required in each role. Institutes such as the Singapore Bus Academy and Singapore Rail Academy, for example, will be able to tap the framework in offering new programmes for public transport workers.

The framework is part of the Land Transport Industry Transformation Map, which was launched in February (2018), and will see $25 million in funding being set aside for mobility-related research and trials over the next five years.

In that time, the Government will also pump in about $5 billion in subsidies for public bus services and $4 billion to renew rail operating assets. Another $20 billion will be invested to expand the MRT network.

Go-Ahead Singapore depot supervisor Josephine Lee, in her late 50s, said: “I want to expand my data analytical skills and my communication skills as I need to interact with the bus captains and members of the public.”

Ms Lee, who was also a bus captain for four years, said: “The skills framework will help me explore what other skills I need to deepen my capabilities... Previously there wasn’t any such resource to tap.”


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