A very good morning to all of you. It is my pleasure to join all of you here today at ITE College West, as part of this important effort to prepare our workforce for the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).
EV technologies and sales continue to make rapid strides, both globally and in Singapore. In Singapore, the first quarter of 2022 saw new electric car registrations account for 8.1% of all new car registrations. This was more than twice our EV adoption rate in 2021.So it is gathering significant pace.
This progress is encouraging. Vehicular electrification is key to our broader goal of reducing peak land transport emissions by 80% by 2050, and that is why we aim to phase out Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles by 2040. Most of these will be replaced by EVs. It will be a major transformation of our vehicle population.
Shaping the automotive technician workforce to be EV-ready
This transition will bring new opportunities and jobs for our workers. In some areas, we will require existing expertise in greater quantities, such as the upgrading of the electrical grid. In other areas, we will require entirely new skillsets, such as in the design, testing, and operation of EV charging points, as well as various battery-related services.
Hence, just as we transform our vehicle population, we will likewise need to transform our workforce – not only to support EV adoption, but to help our workers take full advantage of these opportunities in the new green economy.
Public-Private Partnership led by LTA to upskill automotive technicians
LTA is working closely with industry stakeholders in a coordinated public-private effort to plan for this workforce transformation and better understand the manpower needs in this emerging space. LTA brought together automotive manufacturers, authorised dealers, the Singapore Motor Workshop Association, fleet owners, Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs), training providers and other manpower agencies, to identify the skillsets needed for our workforce, and the training that they would need to be EV-ready. An important finding was that our automotive technicians would be one of the sectors most affected by these changes, and we will need to focus our efforts in preparing them for the transition.
Today, the core skillsets required by our automotive technicians are largely mechanical in nature, to perform tasks such as the swapping of mechanical parts, and the changing of engine oil. With the transition to EVs, some of these services will no longer be needed. Instead, automotive technicians would need to be more proficient in electrical troubleshooting and diagnostics, and be well-versed in procedures for safely handling high-voltage parts and components.
Although the transition towards a predominantly electric vehicular fleet will take many years, we need to start upskilling and reskilling efforts today, and plan for the long term to ensure our workforce evolves in the right direction and is well equipped for this transition.
MOU on training EV maintenance technicians
I am pleased to announce today that key stakeholders in the automotive sector have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop and endorse a national vocational certification that covers a set of common baseline competencies and skills, focusing on high voltage safety awareness and handling, and an introduction to EV knowledge. This certification will be applicable for both students undergoing pre-employment training as well as working professionals undergoing continuing education and training.
This certification will provide a foundation for technicians seeking further training to prepare themselves for EV work. We are building up the ecosystem from a few perspectives:
- Our IHLs and training providers will develop training curricula aligned with the identified competencies, and provide training and assessment. This will build on existing EV-related modules in their Pre-Employment Training (PET) and Continuing Education Training (CET) courses.
- SkillsFuture Singapore and Workforce Singapore will support this effort through the provision of course funding and salary support for the training duration to eligible companies.
- The industry, in turn, will recognise qualified technicians who are certified for the established baseline competencies with respect to high voltage awareness and safety. This will give them an advantage amongst their peers in demonstrating their readiness for further training as an EV technician. Ultimately, we strive to elevate the baseline abilities of the technician workforce across the industry, as EVs begin to replace ICE vehicles in the upcoming decade.
In summary, there is benefit for our workforce because they will acquire important skills relevant for the transition. There is benefit for the industry because this certification becomes an important reference point when you recruit members for your workforce. From the government perspective, there is a full commitment to support this transition in our workforce, working with employers and the workers to prepare them for the future.
We look forward to the official launch of the certification and courses in the later half of this year.
In addition, I am also glad to see two other agreements being signed today: one between ITE and the Singapore Bus Academy, and another between Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Motor Workshop Association (SMWA). These partnerships attest to the strong commitment shared by our industry players and IHLs in investing in the workforce.
This transition will certainly manifest itself in the services provided at the motor workshops, and also the public transport system. As we previously announced, half of Singapore’s public bus fleet will be electric by 2030.
As the ecosystem matures, we will continue to work with the industry and associations to better adapt the training to anticipate and meet industry needs for the spectrum of roles required in the sector.
I would like to conclude by thanking our industry partners and ITE for your continued support and for investing in the future of Singapore’s automotive industry. It is key that we are able to come together and respond at the system level to these shifts. Let us continue to work together to embrace and seize the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for our EV transition.