As Singapore's precision engineering industry moves towards innovation-intensive activities, it will create jobs that require more skills and knowledge, leading to better pay and career growth prospects.

S Iswaran, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry), expects an additional 3,000 professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMET) jobs in the sector by 2020.

The precision engineering industry today employs 94,000 workers and accounts for a total output that exceeds S$32 billion.

Speaking at the launch of Meiban iSmart Factory Project, he gave two examples of such jobs, first being the demand for industrial data scientists, who understand both manufacturing processes and IT systems, as well as extract and prepare data, conduct advanced analytics, and apply their findings to improve products and production methods.

Second, the adoption of digital manufacturing will create demand for automation and robot coordinators who will be responsible for optimising operations and machines.

In charting out out this increased demand, Minister Iswaran introduced a new Skills Framework, which lays out career pathways for 13 occupations within the precision engineering industry.

"It will serve as a common reference guide for employers and employees in identifying key skills and competencies for different job roles," he said.

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In addition, Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) has started a series of advanced manufacturing master-classes on emerging technology fields such as additive manufacturing and advance robotics.

The newly-formed statutory board, Workforce Singapore, is also developing a System Integrator Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) under the Adapt & Grow initiative to support reskilling of those keen to embark on new careers in advanced manufacturing.

The Government has further set aside S$3.2 billion under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 Plan for R&D, in advanced manufacturing and engineering to support technology development and adoption in new growth sectors.

The $450 million National Robotics Programme (NRP) and the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC) will spearhead the development and deployment of robotic capabilities and additive manufacturing R&D.

Photo / 123RF