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JTC, Singapore Polytechnic to drive tech adoption, train students in manufacturing

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As Singapore forges ahead in building a new hub for advanced manufacturing in Jurong West, JTC Corporation and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) joined hands on Saturday to ensure a pipeline of skilled talent for the sector.

[SINGAPORE] As Singapore forges ahead in building a new hub for advanced manufacturing in Jurong West, JTC Corporation and Singapore Polytechnic (SP) joined hands on Saturday to ensure a pipeline of skilled talent for the sector.

SP is set to work with industry players to develop and provide technology solutions, as well as conduct workforce training for companies. It will also help firms redesign their operations and drive technology adoption.

The polytechnic will also be introducing work-study programmes for students, entry-level professionals and employees with support from JTC, in line with a memorandum of understanding that both parties signed at the launch of an exhibition on the upcoming 600ha Jurong Innovation District on Saturday.

In turn, SP students will be given internship and project opportunities at advanced manufacturing companies including those in the new district, which will be developed by JTC over the next three decades.

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More than 400 students from SP are expected to benefit from this programme in the next three years, said JTC.

It added in a statement that "this complements the suite of upcoming research and training opportunities" in the Jurong Innovation District.

They include programmes on the applications of Industry 4.0 methods and technologies by German engineering firm Bosch Rexroth at its regional training centre, and the NTU-JTC Industry Talent Development Programme, where students intern and work on projects with advanced manufacturing industry partners.

"The global digital transformation in manufacturing will require a new generation to work alongside new technologies in a digitalised workplace," said JTC chief executive Ng Lang.

"Partnerships with institutes of higher learning like SP are important in ensuring that our workforce is equipped with the right skillsets to meet the needs of new manufacturing jobs."

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who was also at the event on Saturday, added that the masterplan for the innovation district is important for Singapore. It is part of the next phase in development for advanced manufacturing in the economy.

"Once we fully develop the Jurong Innovation District, we expect about 95,000 new jobs to be created. New jobs in clean, advanced facilities that offer very good career prospects," said Mr Tharman, who is also coordinating minister for social policies.

JTC said that the district will increase the number of jobs involving technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics.

Mr Tharman added that he hopes the district, which will "have a strong sustainability slant" in its design, can also serve as an example of how manufacturing and industry are able to help further the circular economy.

The district will be linked to its wider residential environment as well.

Its key features include Singapore's first 11km car-free "sky corridor" with dedicated lanes for pedestrians, cyclists and autonomous shuttles.

It will also boast a new 10ha park in the Bulim precinct, which will be built in phases from 2020.

Bulim is one of several areas in the innovation district, which includes Tengah, Bahar, CleanTech Park and Nanyang Technological University.

The existing Jurong Eco-Garden will get a facelift as well, with nature trails, a cafe, playground and fitness facilities by 2025, said JTC.

Jurong resident Premala Sekara, 57, who has lived in the area for 25 years, said she is looking forward to the new MRT stations on the future Jurong Regional Line, which will be ready from 2026.

"People will no longer need to take a bus out, and can take the train directly. It'll be more convenient," said the librarian, who is also a member of the Community Club Management Committee for Boon Lay.

She added that the revamped eco-garden will also be good for new families moving to the area, given that current green areas are crowded.

"If I have grandchildren, it would be nice to take time to visit the eco-garden with them in the future," she said.

THE STRAITS TIMES