Event Recap: 2021 MSC Connexions Forum

Attracting, engaging, and growing talent is at the heart of the Singapore Maritime Foundation’s mission of developing a healthy maritime workforce. As the industry prepares the way for digitalisation and sustainability, among many other upcoming trends, the skills of maritime talent have to keep pace with these changes.

It is apt that the theme for the sixth MSC Connexions Forum held on 8 November 2021 was centred around “Skills Upgrading Programmes for the Maritime Sector”. Organised by the Maritime Singapore Connect (MSC) Office, a unit under the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), the annual Forum is targeted towards Human Resource leaders and manager from the maritime cluster that shape the changemakers of tomorrow. Without a future-ready pool of talent, transformation within maritime will remain stagnant.

Ms Tan Beng Tee opening the Forum

This year, the Forum featured speakers from Workforce Singapore, Singapore Polytechnic and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i). Opening the session, SMF Executive Director Ms Tan Beng Tee remarked on the how “both hardware and in particular software play important roles towards the success of any organisation”. Being a small nation without natural resources, Singapore must redirect investments towards its people.

Drawing in Fresh Faces
Mr David Lee introducing SMF’s initiatives

With its strong connections to the private and public sector, SMF is well-positioned to plug talent into the growing maritime sector, especially those at the tertiary education level. These young Singaporeans will lead the charge and take Maritime Singapore to greater heights. Senior Manager of Corporate Communications and MSC Office at SMF, Mr David Lee was the first speaker and he shared on how SMF’s strategic framework of Connectivity, Innovation and Talent will achieve this goal.

SMF’s Strategic Framework

  • Connecting Singapore to the world and the world to Singapore
  • Connecting the maritime ecosystem
  • Connecting talent with industry
Showcasing creativity in digital/innovative solutions from Singapore
  • Attracting talent
  • Engaging talent
  • Growing talent

Guided by this strategic framework, SMF has designed a suite of initiatives that range from scholarships and career fairs to a structured internship program that will be unveiled in 2022.

Equipping Maritime Talent with Future-Proof Skills

Moving into the experienced segment of talent, Mr Wong Koon Yin, Assistant Director (Manufacturing Division) at Workforce Singapore spoke on the organisation’s Career Conversion Programme (CCP) for Sea Transport Professionals and Associates.

Mr Wong Koon Yin speaking on the Career Conversion Programme

The programme focuses on structured reskilling efforts targeted at both PMET and non-PMET workers that are either seeking a mid-career switch, facing redundancy, or seeking to expand their skillset. As the famous adage goes, “Change is the only constant” and maritime professionals will have to consistently sharpen their skills to remain relevant in today’s dynamic climate. Partnering with the Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Enterprise Singapore and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the courses are co-funded by WSG and employers.

Capt Mohd Salleh Ahmad Sarwan (left) and Mr Wong Jian Chang (right)

Elaborating further on WSG’s partnership with SP on skills upgrading, Director of the Singapore Maritime Academy at SP, Capt Mohd Salleh Ahmad Sarwan dived into the course details of the CCP offered at the Polytechnic before Mr Wong Jian Chang, Director of the PACE Academy at SP joined him on stage to answer the audience’s questions.

To find out more about the CCP:

Easing New Talent into Maritime

Taking the stage, Ms Judy Tan, Deputy Director of Transport and Logistics at e2i highlighted the programs developed to support maritime companies across the different stages from recruitment and training to job redesigning.

Ms Judy Tan speaking on the Structured Mentorship Programme

Notably, the structured mentorship programme designed in conjunction with SMF that seeks to tackle challenges in talent retention by pairing mentors to new hires. The 60 identified mentors will undergo a training where they will have the opportunity to refresh and attain new skills. Armed with new knowledge, mentors are better equipped to train hires on the job while offering them a comprehensive view of the industry. The program is slated to launch in 2022.

Keen to be part of the Mentoring Program for Talent Development and Succession? Drop Ms Rosalind Tan an email at

Missed the live session? Catch a replay of the 2021 MSC Connexions Forum here.
Download the speaker slides.

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