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MPA steps up talent development efforts through partnering with maritime companies, unions and universities

The Maritime Manpower Forum at the Singapore Maritime Week 2022 brought together government, union and industry leaders to discuss ways to attract and retain talent and transform workplaces in the maritime sector. The forum emphasised the importance of tripartite partnerships through collaboration amongst unions, employers and the government in advancing transformation and growth in the maritime industry. 

2. During his keynote address at the forum, Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Transport said, “It is not a given that we will achieve the ITM targets because we are now operating in a more challenging global environment than before.  However, we have confidence in our strengths and capabilities, which can be seen from the sector’s resilience during the pandemic. In addition, we have an important enabler in Singapore which is our strong tripartite partnership between the Government, industry, and unions. This is a pillar of strength for Maritime Singapore as we embark on industry, company and workforce transformation.”

3. Mr Chee also added maritime workers make important contributions to a vital industry that underpins Singapore’s survival and prosperity. They play a key role in keeping global supply chains going, and that it was important to attract good people to join the maritime sector by offering rewarding careers with ample opportunities for continuous learning and skills upgrading, for both seafaring and shore-based roles.

Enhancing co-funding support for talents to gain international exposure in Southeast Asia.

In a global business like maritime, local talents must have international exposure in order to take on senior leadership roles. MPA offers the Overseas Attachment Scheme and Global Talent Programme to encourage companies to provide such opportunities for locals. The schemes would enable local talents to gain experience and exposure through structured rotations and overseas attachments. Between 2019 and 2021, 84 local talents have gone on overseas attachments.

5. MPA will enhance the co-funding support under the Overseas Attachment scheme and Global Talent Programme for talents to place greater emphasis on Southeast Asia. The quantum of support under these programmes will be 20% higher for employees who are sent to ASEAN countries, compared to other locations around the world. This means that MPA’s co-funding support for employees who are sent to ASEAN countries will be increased from 50% to 70% for the Overseas Attachment scheme and 70% to 90% for the Global Talent Programme.

Launch of Inaugural Maritime Transformation & Innovation Programme (MTIP)

6. At SMW, MPA also launched the inaugural Maritime Transformation & Innovation Programme (MTIP), which is a training programme to support the key agenda of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The programme focuses on driving innovation and efficiency within the maritime community.

7. Participants will gain insights into transformational strategy and effective change management practices as they exchange ideas with industry practitioners and peers from around the world. The MTIP brought together 20 senior officers in maritime administrations from 15 countries from around the world, to learn and share valuable insights on innovation, transformation, and change management in their organisations.

Supporting our local seafarers - Tripartite Maritime Scholarship and SailMAP

8. The Tripartite Maritime Scholarship (TMSS) was introduced in 2002 to help build up a core group of local mariners by aiming to attract and encourage locals to take up seafaring as a career. The scholarship, sponsored by MPA, seafarer unions (Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union & Singapore Organisation of Seamen) and shipping companies, aims to groom promising students or fresh graduates to be Ship Captains or Chief Engineers of ocean-going merchant ships, with the potential to be the future leaders of Singapore’s maritime industry. A total of more than 200 participants have been awarded the TMSS thus far.

9. TMSS is open to students pursuing the Diploma in Nautical Studies or Diploma in Marine Engineering at the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA), Singapore Polytechnic (SP). In 2021, 14 Tripartite Maritime Scholarships (TMSS) worth about S$1 million were awarded. Application for the TMSS is open once a year and interested paritcipants for the next intake can sign up by 22 April at:

10. To provide more support for our local seafarers, MPA and tripartite partners (unions and industry) have recently launched the Sail Milestone Achievement Programme (SailMAP) to provide each seafarer with up to $50,000 when they attain key career milestones, including a sign-on bonus of $10,000 when they sign-on their first vessel as a Certificate of Competency (CoC) Class 3 (deck officer) or 5 (marine engineer) holder.

11. The incentive payments help to support their income when they are not sailing, so that they can focus on upgrading their seafaring skills and knowledge during these periods.

Second edition of the Maritime Leadership Programme (MLP)

12. MPA will continue to invest in grooming leaders and managers through initiatives such as the Maritime Leadership Programme. Launched in 2021 and conducted by Singapore Management University, the Maritime Leadership Programme (MLP) is designed for senior management leaders within the extended value chain of the maritime industry. This programme offers participants a robust foundation of key maritime concepts including leadership in maritime and fresh perspectives on global maritime trends. It also connects participants with renowned maritime leaders through the networking opportunities to enable knowledge exchanges and facilitate collaboration. 20 senior management leaders completed the programme last year.   

13. The second edition of MLP is expected to run in the third quarter of this year, and is open to maritime management leaders who are looking to expand their knowledge and develop strong networks in the sector. The upcoming edition features highly engaging delivery formats well suited for executive education and development, as well as interactive sessions with C-Suite executives from maritime organisations. For more details on the second edition of MLP, you may contact

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