SMRT and building Singapore’s future Rail Workforce

On 9 November, Senior Minister of State for Transport, Josephine Teo announced the $12.5 million Public Transport Manpower Development Fund that LTA will invest in to develop talent in the public transport industry. The Public Transport Manpower Development Fund will be used for initiatives spearheaded by LTA, WDA and public transport operators, like SMRT.

This is especially important for SMRT. President and Group CEO Desmond Kuek said, “People are at the centre of everything that makes the rail network run efficiently, effectively. And we’re determined to try and bring in and retain all the high quality workforce that is needed to keep rail reliability at its highest level.”

SMRT has played a crucial role in developing initiatives to nurture both current and future rail professionals. A Part-Time Diploma in Engineering Systems for Rapid Transit Technology was developed with Singapore Polytechnic for staff who wish to upskill themselves in the rapid transit industry with more knowledge and practical skills about the various areas of rail operations and maintenance. Currently, five of our own staff have enrolled in this part-time programme.


Credit: Singapore Polytechnic

For early and mid-career engineers, the comprehensive STEP-IN and STEP-UP schemes were created. STEP is essentially about providing our rail engineers with professional development and accreditation. It anchors on the professional development of engineers through the acquisition of necessary competencies in three areas: Values, Leadership, and Functional Skills.

Fresh graduates from Singapore Polytechnic and the Institute of Technical Education will be able to participate in Earn & Learn programmes which will give from them a head-start in their careers.


Credit: Singapore Institute of Technology

At the Degree level, SMRT supports the Singapore Institute of Technology’s new Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering programme by taking in 15 students for a 12-month integrated work-study arrangement.

These initiatives will help to continue building a sustainable workforce to support the growing network. Over the last 3 years, we have grown our Trains technical workforce by 21%.  From a base number of 191 engineers, we intend to more than double the numbers within the next two years.  We are making good progress, and already have a strength of 328, or more than 70%. There is strong interest from new graduates and retention has been excellent because the work is meaningful and exciting.

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