Speech - Address by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for MCCY and MTI, at the MOU signing ceremony between ITE and AIRBUS S.A.S. and Testia and Purdue University, on 16 Feb 2022, 1545 hrs, Aerospace Hub, ITE College Central

News details
  • Publish date:16 Feb 2022

Ms Low Khah Gek



Dr Valerie Manning 

Senior Vice-President, Airbus Training & Flight Ops


Mr Mads Kjer Bøndergaard, 

Airbus Head of Operations, Asia-Pacific


Mr Nicolas Fournier

International Development & Partnership Director, Testia APAC


Professor Manoj Patankar

Raisbeck Engineering Professor of Aviation Technology

Representing Purdue University, Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Purdue Global Inc


Distinguished guests from Industry and ITE




  • A very good afternoon to everyone.


  • Thank you for inviting me to be part of this event.


  • I was here 6 months ago to officiate the opening of Airbus’s Competency Training (ACT) Academy and there was a very exciting drone race. The drones were circling past all the planes within this aerospace hub and they were coming under the wing and above the wing and were very dexterous and nimble. This partnership today symbolizes that particularly well because to our friends from Purdue, Professor Patankar and team, you would also have to be with us for many different huddles and across the span of time and even at the wee hours in the morning to make this happen and of course to many months and years of work as well. 


  • I just want to commit Singapore’s commitment in making sure that we work very hard to prepare our students so that your investments here will not only have very good growth but also an extremely skilled labour force to take on the jobs. 


  • After a hiatus of a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are very happy to see the return of the Singapore Airshow this year. Next year I hope that we can bring the general public to the Airshow. The Airshow is a significant event which underscores the long term prospects of the aviation and aerospace sectors in Singapore and we look forward to forging even more partnerships with you.


  • Airbus has been a strong partner of Singapore over the years and has worked closely with us through the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am happy to see that they are one of the largest exhibitors at this year’s Airshow and that they have had a strong showing so far with a landmark deal with Singapore Airlines.  




  • The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the travel and logistics industries in recent years, mostly due to tightened cross-border measures and restrictions to control the spread of the virus.


  • In addition to the economic impact, we have also become deeply cognisant of how deeply intertwined our economies, societies and supply chains are. For a country like Singapore, which imports almost everything we consume, it has made us even more determined to ensure that we remain resilient in order to minimize disruption for our people. 


  • Many aspects of globalisation which we have taken for granted in the past, have to be relooked at in order to reduce our reliance on foreign resources such as food, fuel and manpower.


  • All enterprises will have to think out of the box or adopt new technologies to ensure their business operations are not compromised. Training institutes supporting our economy’s manpower needs will have to ensure their graduates are equipped with relevant knowledge and skills to stay relevant and in demand.




  • Aerospace is one of the industries which has been greatly affected by the changes brought forth by the pandemic. Many of these shifts have already been slowly picking up momentum over the years but have been greatly accelerated by the pandemic. 


  • For example, the demand by consumers for more environmentally friendly travel options has resulted in a race to make air travel more efficient and less taxing to the environment. Over the last few years, we have seen many aircraft manufacturers adopting “greener” structural materials to improve flight efficiency, reduce maintenance requirements and lower consumption of fossil fuel.


  • Advanced composite material fits the bill and has seen ever-increasing usage in the design and construction of newer aircraft.


  • Remote or automated air transport systems have  been widely touted as the future of aviation. Reducing the dependence on manned piloting has the potential to reduce human factors in flying. This is another area which this aerospace industry has to prepare for tomorrow.


  • The introduction of new technologies is only the first step. A healthy supply of competent manpower to support and maintain these new flying machines requires a strong “marriage” between industry and training providers and the ensuing transference of knowledge, skills and experiences between them.




  • Today I am very happy to be able to bear witness to such a “marriage” between industry and training leaders, Airbus, Testia, Purdue University and ITE. 


  • The MOUs being signed today will enrich the industry training of our students in Aerostructure inspections and Non Destructive Testing (NDT). It will also open up exciting career paths for our students in Unmanned Aerial Systems through the new technical engineer diploma between ITE and Purdue University. Such MOU signings are testament to the industry’s recognition of the skills-based education that is provided by ITE.   


  • I look forward to even more collaborations between ITE and the aviation industry and hope that more companies and training leaders will come forward to better prepare our students for the future economy. Thank you.