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Speech at SCALA Graduation Ceremony

Josephine Teo Minister for Manpower, Supply Chain City

Dr Robert Yap, Chairman of Board of Advisors of SCALA;

SCALA’s Advisory Board Members;

Members of the Supply Chain and Logistics Corporate Network;

Friends and colleagues


1. Good afternoon. Thank you for inviting me to join you for the inaugural SCALA graduation ceremony.


2. My heartiest congratulations to all graduates.


3. All of you have taken the bold step to acquire new skills to move into a new job role or sector.  I am confident that you will play a vital role in contributing to the success, growth and transformation of the logistics industry.


Logistics industry is a key sector of growth


4. The logistics industry forms the backbone of Singapore’s economy and plays a key part in our everyday lives. It is a vital part of the Transportation and Storage sector, which:

  • Accounted for 7.2% of Singapore’s GDP in 2017, and

  • Employs around 7% of Singapore’s workforce today.

5. Singapore is the leading logistics hub in Asia. Given our strategic location and established infrastructure, we expect the logistics sector to continue to grow.


6. There are new and exciting business opportunities driven by:

  • A growing middle class in Asia.

  • An increasing network of trade agreements in the region.

  • Immense growth in e-commerce, fueling demand for last-mile delivery.

  • Emerging technological advances such as the Internet of Things, warehouse robotics and drones changing the way businesses operate.


An agile ecosystem as the winning formula


7. At the same time, these opportunities could mean disruptions to businesses and workers.


8. At the President Address’s Debate last week, several MPs spoke about this.


9. Their top-most concern was how disruption would impact workers.

- Mr Desmond Choo warned that workers faced wage stagnation if they did not re-skill.


- Mr Melvin Yong called for better communications of the ITMs so workers could take charge of their own retraining; also called for retraining of those who remain in employment, not just those who have been displaced.


10. Dr Koh Poh Koon highlighted the mindset change needed by both workers to adapt, and businesses to transform; because ultimately, without businesses remaining viable, no amount of re-training will help the workers stay employed.


11. At the same time, MPs highlighted two other concerns.

- Newly appointed SG Ng Chee Meng and DSG Heng Chee How both spoke about the need to strengthen support for older workers. 


- Mr Zainal Sapari expressed the hope that low-wage workers would not be left behind as our economy transforms. 


12. I will be addressing their concerns in greater detail when I speak at MOM’s Workplan Seminar next Monday.


13. My belief is this:


- Singapore is not alone in having to deal with these challenges; many mature economies need to as well.

- But we can be more agile in our response, sharper to spot the opportunities and quicker to get ourselves organized.

- If we take advantage of every opportunity available to us, Singapore can still stay ahead – so that our firms can continue to thrive, and our workers can have good jobs and careers in the future economy.


14. A key advantage we can build up is an agile ecosystem, consisting of

- Agile business

- Agile workforce

- Agile workforce


Agile businesses


15. We need businesses to be agile because ultimately, you are the heartbeat of any economy.


- Always anticipating changes.

- Determined to innovate and transform before it’s too late. 

- Proactively building up new capabilities and re-training workers.


16. To help businesses in the logistics industry innovate and transform, we launched the Logistics ITM in 2016.

- Helps our companies adopt new technologies.

  - Increase their productivity.

  - Enable them to venture overseas.

- Further strengthens Singapore’s position as a leading global logistics hub.

- Identifies and creates new jobs for our citizens.

  - Expected to introduce 2,000 new PMET jobs from 2016 to 2020.

An agile workforce


17. As companies transform, we also need agile workers who are the lifeblood that keep the system going.

- Need them to up-skill, deep-skill, broad-skill, cross-skill and multi-skill.

- Make full use of the new technologies.

- Adapt and grow throughout their careers.


18. With the expected increase in demand for logistics manpower:

- Also need to lower the barriers to entry for jobseekers.

- Including mid-career entrants, who are keen to join the industry.


19. This is why we launched the Adapt and Grow PCPs for Logistics Officer and Logistics Executive in 2016.

- 12-month programme.

- Targeted at individuals with zero logistics experience.

- 161 local mid-career entrants embarked on the PCPs.

- 47 of you are graduating today.


20.  Example of mature Logistics PCP graduate: Mr Gary Ang of Pacific Integrated Logistics, 46 years-old.

- Gary, who is among the graduands today, is a good example of an agile worker

- Worked as an e-Commerce Manager in the UK for two years before returning to Singapore in 2016.

- When he got back, spent a long time finding a job due to skills mismatch.

- Most employers wanted plug-and-play.

- But he was fortunate that Pacific Integrated Logistics (or PIL in short) was willing to train him.

- They found his skills in e-Commerce relevant as more logistics firms recognise the need to go digital.

- Through the PCP, Gary was able to successfully transit into a new sector.

- He is currently doing well as a Sales Manager at PIL.


21. Both Gary and PIL should be commended for their agile mindset.


22. I am also pleased to know that the PCPs have been well received and there has been strong demand for more places from Singaporeans.

- Workforce Singapore (WSG) had started with 80 training places in June 2016, and a year later, expanded the programme to cater for an additional 200 local PMETs.


23. This would not have been possible without the support from SCALA.


24. Besides providing the facilitated classroom training for the PCP participants, SCALA:

- Developed a customised employability workshop for jobseekers keen to join logistics

- Helps them become more job ready.

- Provides them with support in

  - Interview preparation.

  - Resume writing.

  - Job matching.


25. I would also like to thank the 55 participating employers.

- Adopted progressive employment practices.

- Willing to hire and train mid-career entrants.

- Including mature jobseekers and those out of job for a while.

- Build up a strong local talent pipeline to complement their foreign manpower through our Adapt and Grow initiative.


26. We hope to see many more employers coming onboard and making use of these programmes to meet your manpower needs.


Agile government


27. To complement efforts by workers and employers, MOM too is committed to keep ourselves agile in responding to their needs.


28. Through our regular consultations, more than 30 companies onboard SCALA’s Supply Chain and Logistics Corporate Network shared the need for a stronger pipeline of supply chain professionals.

- Including 3M, Commonwealth Food Services and Schneider Electric.
- As their manpower needs grow, these companies:
- are open to hiring mid-career entrants, and
- hope to have a dedicated skills-conversion programme. 

New PCP for Supply Chain Professionals


29. This is why I am very happy to announce that we are launching a new PCP for Supply Chain Professionals today.
- 12-month Place-and-Train programme.

- Helps mid-career PMETs from other sectors reskill and take on new roles as supply chain professionals.

- Expect to benefit up to 100 mid-career PMETs in the next two years.

- Can be deployed in both logistics and non-logistics companies which require supply chain capabilities. 


30. To meet manpower demand in other critical areas within logistics,
- There are ongoing PCPs for Air Freight Officer and Air Freight Executive, PCP for e-Commerce Professionals and PCP for SEA-Ready Talent.
- We will continue to consult our logistics tripartite partners to identify growth areas and where manpower demand is high. 


31. With these PCPs in place and an agile ecosystem of businesses, workers and the Government, we can make further strides in building a globally competitive logistics and supply chain hub in Singapore.




32. Every one of the graduands and employers here will tell you that it is not an easy journey to adapt or transform.

- 12-month commitment in the PCP.

- Jobseeker needs to persevere.

- Employer needs to wait.


33. And each of the PCPs is almost custom-made,
- So the number are not big.
- And the process is laborious/painstaking.


34. If Government did not come in to provide financial support,
- hard to imagine such an approach achieving scale.
- and succeeding on its own.


35. But that is also why
- will not be easy for many other countries to do the same.
- Singapore has a chance to stay ahead of the curve.


36. Therefore, in closing,
- would like to thank the many people who helped make this happen,
- In particular, deeply appreciate Dr Robert Yap for being such an outstanding champion of our logistics sector.


37. Surely and steadily, we building up an agile ecosystem that will benefit all of us.


38. Finally, to those graduating today and your employers, congratulations once again!