SINGAPORE: National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan wants to see more Singaporeans take up jobs as crane operators.
In his latest blog post, Mr Khaw noted how such workers are needed to help the construction sector raise its productivity.
He said crane operators are crucial for prefabrication construction, a productivity-boosting strategy where building components are made in factories and transported to construction sites. They are then hoisted by cranes for assembly.
The minister said the industry needs more Singaporean crane operators so as to reduce its reliance on foreign workers.
A new programme launched by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has helped to make the remuneration package and upgrading opportunities for such workers more attractive, noted Mr Khaw.
Under the one-year "Crane Apprenticeship Programme (CAP)", a crane apprentice will undergo a 12-day training and skill certification course at the BCA Academy before embarking on the CAP, once he has obtained his crane licence from the Ministry of Manpower.
The first batch of six apprentices started the programme this month.
"One of them is Steven Kok, a 28-year-old father of three young children. He is looking to hone a skill that would provide him with good job prospects and an attractive remuneration.
He will soon be starting work with his employer, Leo Ong Construction Pte Ltd," said Mr Khaw.
"Once he has gained sufficient experience, he intends to upgrade his skills and learn to operate other types of cranes," added Mr Khaw.
New crane operators stand to earn up to S$4,000 a month. This includes overtime pay and allowances.
Those with more experience can take home a monthly gross pay of S$6,000 to S$7,000.
There are about 3,600 active crane operators in the built environment sector, half of them are Singaporeans.
"But we need more, a few hundreds more, as we ramp up our BTO (Build-to-Order) programme," wrote Mr Khaw. One crane is needed for each block under construction.
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