Industry Connect will rejuvenate local companies within JTC estates

A Mixed Bag of Performance in manufacturing sector (Image credit: Google map)

Industry Connect launched to support business growth through collaborative partnerships within JTC estates

With 14,000 businesses in its 100 estates, JTC has launched a new initiative named Industry Connect to support business growth through collaborative partnerships within its estates among businesses, enablers, academia, and government agencies in three key areas – technology adoption, talent development and environmental sustainability. Industry Connect was announced at JTC’s Aerospace Community Engagement 2020 at Seletar Aerospace Park.

industry connect
Industry Connect launched to support business growth through collaborative partnerships within JTC estates (Image credit: Google map)

The Industry Connect is a platform that consolidates successful initiatives undertaken by JTC in the past two years to partner businesses, trade associations and Institutes of Higher Learning to enhance Industry 4.0, talent development and environmental sustainability initiatives in JTC estates.

To date, more than 300 businesses in its estates have been engaged on technology adoption, whilst over 3,000 students benefited from learning journeys and project and internship opportunities in JTC estates. Together with the National Parks Board and the Garden City Fund, JTC has also brought together the industry community to contribute to the greening of its estates over the past year, and start discussions to increase solar energy adoption.

To affirm its commitment to talent initiatives, JTC signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) today. The first MOU was signed with ITE, all five polytechnics , SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Workforce Singapore (WSG) and NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to scale more estate-level collaborations in talent attraction and workforce skills upgrading under Industry Connect.

Under this initiative, businesses will have early access to talent from ITE and the polytechnics with more open houses, factory tours and industry events held in JTC estates. This builds on JTC’s earlier efforts to expose students to exciting opportunities in the aerospace, advanced manufacturing and electronics sectors through open houses in Seletar Aerospace Park, Jurong Innovation District and Wafer Fab Parks.

In addition, businesses can present project challenges for students to solve, as well as offer internship and job opportunities as part of their talent attraction efforts. For example, in one pilot, six SMEs from Tampines Industrial Park presented their business challenges in a hackathon to seek new solutions from Temasek Polytechnic students. The hackathon generated encouraging responses from both students and businesses alike, with some of the SMEs planning to adopt these solutions.

To upskill the existing manufacturing workforce, businesses in JTC estates, especially those with a large base of SMEs, will also benefit from resources and training programmes curated by SSG, WSG and e2i. For instance, WSG will be introducing new Professional Conversion Programmes (PCPs) and promoting existing ones as well as supporting job redesign efforts for the current workforce.

Engagement events to increase awareness of WSG’s programmes will also be organised to provide businesses with a better understanding of how these programmes can support them in their business transformation and talent attraction and retention needs. SSG, together with the Institutes of Higher Learning, will engage companies to help them better understand the various SkillsFuture initiatives and support their talent development efforts. These industry-relevant training programmes will be held on-site in JTC’s developments to bring greater convenience to SMEs.

JTC CEO Mr Ng Lang said, “This is an exciting time in manufacturing, with more companies embarking on the digitalisation journey. Through this collaborative effort, we hope to create an extra layer of value for businesses in our estates to upgrade their capabilities and attract talent. At the same time, we are happy to be able to have the support of the polytechnics and ITEs to expose students to the exciting new opportunities in manufacturing.”

Based in Tampines Industrial Park, Pharma Express’ Managing Director, Mr Charles Loh said, “SMEs are finding it challenging to attract and retain staff. By bringing students to the estates, we can get new ideas to our business challenges. It also saves us time and is more convenient for our staff to go for training when it is held on-site.”

The second MOU was signed with the Association of Aerospace Industries (Singapore) (AAIS), ITE, the Polytechnics and e2i to affirm the organizations’ collaboration in talent outreach initiatives for the aerospace sector for another four years. This is a continuation of a successful partnership that started in 2018. This year’s MOU sees an increase in the number of participating companies from 29 to 45. Participating companies include the likes of Boeing, Bombardier, GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Safran and SIA Engineering Company.

The aerospace talent outreach MOU will see the continuation and extension of various aerospace talent outreach initiatives, including Aerospace Day @ Seletar Aerospace Park. Aerospace Day is an event that enables companies and students to interact through a day of facility visits, career exhibitions, workshops and activities. This event has attracted strong support from aerospace companies. Following its successful inaugural run in 2018, Aerospace Day has become a signature event in the calendars of the polytechnics and ITE, with over 1,800 students and 200 mid-career professionals benefiting thus far.

Mr Paul Ho, chief mortgage officer at iCompareLoan, said “the Industry Connect initiative is useful because the manufacturing industry cannot be seen as being stuck in a time warp. The collaboration between businesses, enablers, academia, and government agencies will create value, especially for local companies in the JTC estates to upgrade their capabilities and attract talent.”

He added, “it is also good that businesses will have early access to talent from ITE and the polytechnics with more open houses, factory tours and industry events held in JTC estates. The manufacturing sector really needs an infusion of talents.”

Written by Ravi Chandran

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