Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy (AMTA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) Jointly Launch Workforce Upskilling Playbook for Machining and Molding Industry Sectors
In a proactive move to retain a competitive edge in the global industrial revolution, the Advanced Manufacturing Training Academy (AMTA) and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) have unveiled the "Workforce Upskilling Playbook for the Machining and Molding Industry Sectors 2024". This playbook is designed to aid manufacturers, especially SMEs in upskilling their employees, particularly within the Precision Engineering (PE) sector.
Machining and Molding operations are pivotal components of the Precision Engineering (PE) sector, which stands as Singapore's largest manufacturing sector workforce, employing over 90,000 individuals and contributing approximately 12.5% to the nation’s total manufacturing output. Since Singapore's initial foray into manufacturing in the 1970s, PE remains the backbone of Singapore’s manufacturing industry.
Approximately 50% of PE firms are currently involved in machining and molding operations, producing a diverse range of metal, plastic, and rubber parts, alongside dies, molds, and tools for other manufacturers. In the current climate of change, PE firms are faced with a tide of transformative challenges, including rising business costs, intense regional competition, a shortage of skilled operators, and the looming threat of supply chain disruptions amid geopolitical uncertainties. The inherent rigidity of traditional manufacturing processes further compounds the complexities arising from the increasing demand for customised parts1.
Skills Plan for six key roles identified
The “Workforce Upskilling Playbook for the Machining and Molding Industry Sectors 2024" was jointly developed by AMTA and SSG with inputs from other government agencies such as Enterprise Singapore and A*STAR, industry stakeholders like the Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association (SPETA), as well as innovative companies like Koei Tool Singapore Pte Ltd. Technology Partners such as Sodick Singapore Techno Centre also played a crucial role in shaping this playbook. Aligned with the Singapore Manufacturing 2030 vision, the playbook aims to propel the manufacturing sector’s growth and value-add by 50%, shift towards producing higher-value products, foster a robust local talent pipeline, and attract frontier investments by the year 2030.
The playbook encompasses six key roles, ranging from operators to specialists and engineers, providing a detailed breakdown of essential role changes and the new skill proficiencies necessitated by disruptive technology. It aims to empower the industry to maintain its competitive edge by providing a clear strategy for engineers, specialists, and operators to adopt new competencies.
Equipping our workforce with these vital skills over the next three to five years is pivotal for advancing Singapore’s status as a leading2 regional hub for advanced manufacturing, spanning diverse field such as robotics, advanced materials, and additive manufacturing. Examples of these critical skills include:
- Implementing Automation Technologies: To deploy shop floor automation technologies and boost productivity.
- Data Analytics with AI and Machine Learning: To build data analytics models predicting quality issues and recommending pre-emptive measures, thereby saving time and costs.
- Developing Digital Twin Models: To simulate mold and component performance for different materials and process parameters to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.
- Leveraging AI in Design: To improve mold and component design for optimized product quality and reduced mold and component costs.
Dr Zeng Xianting, Director of AMTA, commented, “We understand the challenges faced by SME manufacturers in terms of training: the lack of expertise in analysing critical technology and skills gaps, difficulty in sourcing suitable courses, operational disruptions, uncertain learning experience, and concerns about training ROI and cost constraints. The Workforce Upskilling Playbook aims to provide guidance and support to SMEs for workforce upskilling, offering access to quality training programmes in the ecosystem that are tailored to address their unique skill needs for technology adoption and business transformation. AMTA remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting SMEs through tailored training programs and mentoring initiatives, ensuring a skilled and adaptable workforce capable of navigating the evolving landscape of advanced manufacturing.”
Mr Foo Piao Zhou, Group Director of the Training Partners Group of SSG, said, “Continual training is the bedrock of progression and transformation in advance manufacturing, as it equips our workers with the skills and knowledge crucial for innovation. SSG has shared its jobs-skills insights in the playbook to augment AMTA’s study to project the changes in tasks for various job roles over the next three to five years, as well as the skills needed for these job roles. We hope that this playbook serves as a timely guide for employers and workers to make actionable training decisions to meet the demands of the new tasks and job scopes”.
Mr Daniel Tan, Executive Director of Sodick Singapore Techno Centre, said: "The 'Workforce Upskilling Playbook' is vital for companies in the precision engineering sector to thrive in today's competitive landscape. It's a clear, practical guide that empowers the industry with the skills needed to enhance productivity, cut costs, and maintain top quality while staying agile in a rapidly evolving market. The playbook's strategic launch serves as a catalyst for businesses to jumpstart and accelerate their journey towards Industry 4.0 transformation."
Mr Ng Poh Leong, Director of Koei Tool Singapore Pte. Ltd., said: "By strategically adopting Industry 4.0 and digital transformation, our organization has experienced a significant boost in productivity, operational efficiency, and earnings. These changes, driven by streamlined processes, data-driven decision-making, and innovative customer-centric technologies, have transformed many job roles, necessitating upskilling. AMTA's playbook will be an excellent reference to equip our workforce with relevant skills and stay ahead of the competition.”
AMTA’s Transition from A*STAR to Join SMF
In a strategic move to enhance its role in fortifying the competitiveness of SMEs, AMTA has joined the Singapore Manufacturing Federation (SMF), effective 1 November 2023. This realignment positions AMTA to engage closely with SME manufacturers through SMF, fostering the development of training strategies that enable SMEs to keep pace with the ongoing surge in automation and digital manufacturing demands.
By partnering with SMF, AMTA gains a unique opportunity to broaden its outreach and establish robust connections with diverse manufacturing sectors, capitalizing on SMF’s extensive network of manufacturers.
Lennon Tan, President of SMF, expressed: “AMTA’s playbook is a testament to SMF’s commitment to future-proofing our industry against the fast-evolving technological landscape. It's not just a training guide; it's a strategic framework that empowers SMEs to harness new technologies and innovate. SMF will continue to work with AMTA to create playbooks that help our manufacturing sectors upskill their workforce to ensure Singapore's manufacturing sector stays globally competitive."
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