First Bus Career Development Centre for Singapore

e2i, SMRT and NTWU’s partnership to professionalize the bus industry through first of its kind integrated simulator training

e2i (Employment and Employability Institute) and SMRT Corporation Ltd signed an agreement today that paves the way for the joint development and operation of Singapore’s first Bus Career Development Centre (BCDC).

The e2i–SMRT Memorandum of Understanding leverages on core strengths in both organisations to nurture and provide meaningful employment and skills for Singaporean bus professionals. The partnership will drive the professionalising of the Singapore’s bus industry through these initiatives:

a) A progressive wage model for staff in SMRT Buses. This charts out career pathways and gives staff meaningful careers through better defined routes of advancement and the opportunity for workers to regularly upskill themselves to keep pace with the industry.

b) The setting up of an Integrated Driving and Service Control (iDSC) simulator in Jurong East as part of a broader effort to use advanced technology to raise productivity for the bus industry. The iDSC will be first of its kind in Singapore that incorporates the Service Control Management System to allow bus captains to train together with service controllers to reduce bus bunching and improve bus service reliability. For the bus driving simulator, it employs latest simulation technologies to create virtual traffic scenarios which are too dangerous for bus drivers to practice in real life so as to enhance safe driving competencies.

In raising skills and career progressions for bus professionals, the partners will set up the first Bus Career Development Centre (BCDC) in Singapore. The BCDC will be ready in about a year’s time at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability. There will be 16 simulators which will improve training quality and safety as drivers learn how to navigate different buses, weather, and road conditions virtually before starting on-the-job. (Please refer to Annex A for more information on the simulators).

Open to both public and private bus operators in Singapore, the BCDC will usher in a new era for the training of bus drivers and team-based learning for workers who deploy and monitor bus operations to improve services. This one-stop centre targets to enhance the training for at least 3,000 Singaporean Bus Drivers over the first 3 years of operations.

Mr Desmond Kuek, President and Group Chief Executive Officer said: “This landmark agreement is the culmination of a knitted collaboration and partnership between e2i, NTWU and SMRT. Months of hard work have been put in by all sides to nurture and develop meaningful employment for a pool of professionals with a strong Singaporean core, hence leading to the transformation of the Singapore’s bus industry that should lead to safer, better and more reliable bus services by private and public bus operators.”

Mr Gilbert Tan, CEO, e2i, added “e2i has been working with bus operators on training solutions over the years. The setting up of the Bus Career Development Centre at our Jurong East campus will enhance preparedness and capabilities of bus drivers as they get integrated training. Both service and safety will be improved for commuters, while bus workers will benefit from better skills and career progressions.”

NTWU Assistant General Secretary, Mr Peh Chee Kang, said: “We welcome the joint initiative by SMRT and e2i for the Bus Career Development Centre to raise the skills levels of bus captains. We hope that the use of advanced technology will improve productivity, and correspondingly enhance career progression for bus captains. With better wages, we certainly hope that more Singaporeans would be attracted to join the public bus industry.”

To help Singaporeans learn about how the MOU will transform the bus industry, e2i and SMRT have jointly organised the first-ever Bus Carnival and Career Fair over 2 days (12 – 13 September). Gracing the event on its opening day was Mr Lim Swee Say, NTUC Secretary-General. The event, which features up to 10 booths, will allow the public to gain firsthand experience on a bus simulator, view static display exhibits to learn more about buses and learn more about gracious commuting; while job seekers can sign up for job opportunities with SMRT. The event is expected to attract participants from the community, schools, and bus industry partners.