In his speech at the launch of the Temasek Polytechnic Advanced Manufacturing Centre (TP AMC), at Temasek Polytechnic, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing shared with students on how Singapore can scale up its manufacturing sector qualitatively and be in niche areas that will make us hard to displace down the road.
To do this, Singapore must continue to ensure that we remain an attractive investment location for significant manufacturing investments.
The COVID-19 crisis has provided us with opportunities because corporations look for political stability, the skill of the workforce, the ability to protect intellectual property, and the ability to mobilise capital and aggregate talent from across the globe.
In this fight against COVID-19 every country is racing against time, and against one another to maintain connectivity with the rest of the world as they look to open up their economies safely, said Mr Chan.
How we distinguish ourselves
“We have never distinguished our success on the basis of the size of our local market. We have always distinguished ourselves on the basis of connectivity with the rest of the world, and by carving a critical role for Singapore as part of the global value chain, particularly in niche areas. We will continue to do this.”
Mr Chan said the manufacturing sector is undergoing a revolution that is a combination of computing power, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics and automation. Each of this, by itself, will lead to a certain level of change and transformation. But when they are combined together, the impact of these technologies become exponential.
“We want not just to grow our economy but to make sure that we create a new generation of jobs for our people. A new generation of jobs that can make full use of their talent and potential. A new generation of jobs that will allow them to get on to a new trajectory in their lifecycle in terms of the skills that they acquire, and the kind of income and earnings that they can command. We are not just interested in the starting pay, so to speak, we are interested in helping our students become lifelong learners and get on to a new trajectory that will allow them to stay competitive in the years to come,” Mr Chan said.
“Our definition of success for our students is not just how well they do when they are with us in the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHLs). Our definition of success is how they can go beyond the IHLs, keep learning and improving, and stay at the forefront of the manufacturing sector. If they can do that, then I am quite sure Singapore will continue to have a strong manufacturing sector, and that our people will be future-ready,” he added.
A recap of the strategy
“To conclude, I will recap what our strategy is – attract frontier investments to be anchored in Singapore, help our local ecosystem to transform and compete as an ecosystem, and groom a new generation of workers that are inspired to keep honing their skills in this sector. If we can achieve these, I am very confident that we will be able to achieve our goal of having manufacturing remain at about 20 per cent of our GDP in 10 years’ time.”