Nurturing industry-ready talent for transformation of maritime industry
The Marine and Offshore Engineering industry is key to Singapore’s role as an international maritime hub leader, contributing 7% to Singapore’s GDP and employing more than 170,000 people in over 5,000 establishments.
Engineers in today’s competitive maritime industry need the right set of skills to effectively anticipate and manage fast-changing developments. To meet the manpower needs of the industry, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and Newcastle University (NU) jointly rolled out three Marine degree programmes – Marine Engineering, Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering in 2017.
These three-year direct honours programmes focus on training engineers with deep specialist skills, as well as honing students’ critical and analytical skills to be practice-oriented and industry-ready. Exclusive modules include classification rules, electrical power and automation, renewable energy, and advanced construction methods.
Naval Architecture and Offshore Engineering students will learn about the engineering behind the design, structure, operation and management of ships and offshore structures, while Marine Engineering students will study various complex systems onboard vessels and offshore platforms.
To hone their skills, students are constantly exposed to the latest industry practices and cutting-edge technologies. They have many opportunities to visit the industry to allow them to integrate theory with practice. Special guest lectures by industry practitioners enhance the relevancy of the marine programmes as well.
Mr Choo Boon Kheng (in blue), Head of Project Management Office at Sembcorp Marine, showing students the automated welding process in the Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard’s steel fabrication workshop.
The Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), a characteristic feature of SIT degree programmes, is another key differentiating factor. Students will immerse themselves in the industry through a 26-week IWSP work attachment with leading marine and offshore engineering organisations such as Sembcorp Marine, Keppel Offshore & Marine, Singapore Technologies Engineering Marine, Republic of Singapore Navy, Wärtsilä Singapore, Pacific International Lines, and Bureau Veritas Marine (Singapore). This allows them to put their knowledge into practice and, at the same time, gain valuable work experience.
According to Associate Professor Kenneth Low, Programme Director, SIT, “Over 80% of the academics teaching the SIT-NU Marine programmes have more than 5 years of relevant industry experience, and some had even served in leading positions for nearly 20 years.”
The faculty members of SIT and NU also conduct regular dialogues with industry captains to ensure that they keep up to date with the latest developments within the industry. With such a symbiotic relationship in place, the aim is to produce a pool of skilled talents who are ready to innovate and take the digital transformation of the maritime industry in good stride.
Dialogue session between SIT-NU academics and management of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd.
This article was adapted from The Singapore Engineers September 2018 publication with the permission of The Institution of Engineers, Singapore.