EFFORTS to grow a new generation of power sector specialists in Singapore received another boost on Tuesday, when the Energy Market Authority (EMA) announced the SkillsFuture Study Awards for early- and mid-career Singaporeans hoping to deepen their power engineering skills.
The bond-free S$5,000 cash grant can be used to defray out-of-pocket training expenses for power sector-related engineering courses, said EMA.
These range from higher Nitec (National ITE Certificate), diploma and degree programmes offered by local institutes, to relevant courses by training providers such as the Singapore Institute of Power and Gas or the BCA Academy.
In launching the award, EMA chief executive Ng Wai Choong said that there are "new and exciting developments" in the power sector in Singapore.
These include the expansion of the liquefied natural gas terminal, growing use of solar energy and the need to mitigate cyber-security challenges for power systems.
"With the SkillsFuture Study Awards, we hope our power sector technical professionals will take this opportunity to develop greater mastery of skills, not just to stay relevant but to also propel the industry forward," he said.
The EMA award follows other initiatives that have been launched to attract and groom more talent in the sector.
In January, 17 companies and four education institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore and develop initiatives in the power engineering sector, such as enhanced internships and SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes for polytechnic and ITE electrical engineering students.
At the signing ceremony then, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung noted that Singapore urgently needs new blood in the sector as 40 per cent of its technical workforce in this field will be near retirement in 10 years.
The EMA had in 2014 also set aside S$20 million for the Energy Training Fund, used to train Singaporeans to be technical professionals in the sector.
The SkillsFuture Study Awards initiative is open to Singapore citizens who have at least two years of working experience in the power or power-related sectors, and can be used on top of existing government course fee subsidies.
Part of the SkillsFuture movement, a national effort to integrate education, training and career progression, the awards have also been launched in sectors such as accountancy, precision engineering and retail.
The award for the power sector, to be given to 30 successful candidates, will be open for application from July 1.