Service-related industries and workers will now have targeted funding and training support for use of robotics & automation

In preparing Singapore workers for the next wave of technology advancement, Devan Nair Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) announced service-related sectors as the main targets to benefit with up to 50% equipment funding and up to 90% training support for robotics and automation.

e2i and Singapore Industrial Automation Association (SIAA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help local businesses have easy access to adopt technology and support workers for training. Higher productivity and deeper skills will be gained through:
i. Events like knowledge sharing, visits and consultation for companies to learn about robotics and automation trends and applications
ii. Training for workers to know how to manage and use new technologies and applications<?li>

Customised workshops, training for in-house applications, and a broad-based diploma course are being developed by e2i with industry and training partners. Mr Gilbert Tan, Chief Executive Officer of e2i said, “Automation is widespread in manufacturing; and there is much potential for service-related industries to tap on the benefits of robotics and automation. Besides supporting companies to be more productive, we also need to prepare Singapore workers with new skills for growth areas. e2i is working with industry and training partners to raise awareness, broaden and deepen skills so that our workers can benefit from better jobs and better lives.”

Mr Oliver Tian, President of SIAA added “Automation is not a new word. However, with the convergence of key technologies such as wireless sensors, cloud computing, big data and analytics, Automation in the connected world is taking on a more meaningful and significant role. The success of automation in the factory is now speedily cross-pollinating into other verticals such as Retail and the Services industries, Logistics and Transportation, Healthcare and the Silver industries amongst others. Productivity does not just happen because we bought a machine - the impact of automation must transient two very important changes for the business.” He continued to explain, “Firstly, the transformation of Competency Level. We need renewed skill-sets for our workforce to use the new automation tools. In this regard, we are happy to partner with e2i to help in the competency development efforts across the relevant SME industries in Singapore. Secondly, the transformation of Service Level. With the adoption of proven technology comes change management as well as an upgrade in Service Level. SIAA will also work with e2i to facilitate companies to adopt technologies which they had carefully selected.”

At the first Robotics and Automation Awareness Seminar organised by e2i and SIAA on 6 April 2015, Mr Chan Chun Sing, NTUC’s Deputy Secretary-General, attended the event with about 200 employers from service-related sectors.

Industry experts like Dr Eva Yi-Yuan Yueh, from Innovative Digi-Tech Enabled Applications and Services (IDEAS Institute, Taiwan) spoke about SMART retail; and Professor Chen I-Ming, Director of Intelligent Systems Centre & Robotics Research Centre, Nanyang Technological University spoke about robotics technology for logistics. (Refer to Annex A for list of speakers and topics)

Technology booths provided solutions from mobile transporters, service robots, lightweight robotic arms, for packaging, warehousing, heath care and eldercare, etc. Employers who wanted a clearer diagnosis to improve their operations and manpower optimisation were provided 1-to-1 consultations by the Institute of Infocomm Research and Singapore University of Technology and Design. (Refer to Annex B for list of booths and applications)